FIFA Confederations Cup history
Australia have featured at three previous FIFA Confederations Cups, enjoying two strong two performances in the process. The Socceroos reached the final in 1997 – their best performance in a senior FIFA tournament – and came third four years later. Their 2005 showing, however, ended disastrously with three straight defeats. Saudi Arabia 1997 remains the highpoint with the likes of Mark Viduka, Mark Bosnich and a 19-year-old Harry Kewell helping the side to wins over Mexico and Uruguay, only to slide to a 6-0 defeat against Brazil in the final, having drawn with the same opponent in the group stage. Four years later Australia claimed a dose of revenge by defeating Brazil in the third-place play-off. The Socceroos claimed one of their most famous results earlier in the tournament with a 1-0 win over world champions and eventual 2001 Confederations Cup winners France.
The road to Russia 2017
Australia qualified for their fourth tournament by winning their maiden AFC Asian Cup, having previously won four OFC Nations Cups. Competing for just the third time since joining the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, Australia turned around a group-stage defeat against Korea Republic to defeat the Taeguk Warriors 2-1 in extra time of an epic final. Australia defeated Kuwait, Oman, China PR and United Arab Emirates in their run to the final. Veteran star Tim Cahill shone earlier in the tournament but it was the Socceroos’ new wave that stood out, none more so than midfielder Massimo Luongo who scored the opener in the decider. Australia conceded an eleventh hour equaliser to force extra time, only for another young star in James Troisi to net the tournament winner in front of nearly 80,000 in Sydney.
Coach Ange Postecoglou promised change when he was appointed in late 2013, and he has delivered both on and off the field since then. The Melbourne-raised former Socceroo fullback turned to coaching in his early 30s, and immediately found success, taking South Melbourne to the 2000 FIFA Club World Cup aged just 34. More recently he won a couple of A-League titles with Brisbane Roar playing a pro-active possession-based game - a style that has been transferred to the national team. Several older players disappeared from the Socceroos scene early in Postecoglou's reign amid a wave of new caps and fresh faces. There were hugely promising signs for an inexperienced team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ despite three straight defeats, and the side had matured further by January 2015 as they claimed the Asian crown.
Tim Cahill, Mat Ryan, Mathew Leckie, Mile Jedinak
5 – Australia have won five of their 13 matches over three appearances at the FIFA Confederations Cup.