Matt Leckie makes World Cup knockouts, Australia inspired


Al-Wakrah, Qatar — It defies all logic but AustraliaLittle old Australia, a soccer player hidden in the bottom corner of the world, is heading into the World Cup Round of 16 for the second time in its history.

Matt LeckieA kid who wanted to play a different sport scored the goal that secured a famous 1-0 win Denmark and guaranteed Australia a place in the knockout stages. and cemented his place as a legend of Australian football.

Despite looking like he was on the verge of collapse after grounding himself in earlier games France And TunisiaIt was Leckie, in a game in which he and goalkeeper Matt Ryan equaled Australia’s record for most appearances at the World Cup, who stood up when it mattered most and ensured they were no longer Mark Bresciano and Will cross Tim Cahill’s mark.

At the hour mark at Al Janoub Stadium, moments after word filtered through that Tunisia had taken a 1-0 lead over France and as it stood, football was going home, Melbourne City The attacker moved forward on his side, appearing to break down early in the transition.

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With Denmark needing to win to keep their World Cup survival alive, the number of red shirts being thrown forward meant that there were pockets of space to be exploited. So, running on an inch-perfect pass in space Riley McGreeLecky danced first one way and then the other, just when it seemed he had taken a touch too many, he fired an effort into the bottom corner kasper schmeichelThe goal of Why the commotion?

At Al Janub, pockets of Australian fans, who had been cursing the French shortly before, were sent into ecstasy. in Leckie’s hometown Melbourne, Federation Square was a mass of ecstatic organs and was blanketed in smoke and flashes from dozens of flares, The concrete cavern in the heart of Melbourne, carved out of the old railway yard along the Yarra River to serve as a congregation point and cultural centre, has suddenly become a symbol of the deep love affair that wider Australia has with its men. Developed with the national team. On this night, at 3.30 a.m. local time, there was no place in the world that could match its energy.

Eight years ago in Brazil, Lecky was part of a wave of new faces brought into the national setup by coach Ange Postecoglou in his efforts to rejuvenate and refresh a rapidly aging team known as a ‘Golden Generation’ They were under – a generation that Leckie, who had grown up in an Australian rules football household, had fallen in love with football. Now in 2022, the 31-year-old was in Qatar as one of the team’s most experienced leaders, helping to foster a new generation brought into the team by Graham Arnold.

The day before the game, however, he spoke of his desire to make an impact not only on the likes of Keanu BackusRiley McGarry, OR harry soutarBut to fill a similar role that Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Tim Cahill played for him 16 years ago.

“When I was young, growing up in an AFL environment with my family, the one thing that inspired my family to follow football was the national team and the World Cup,” he explained. “It’s huge for the game … I’m sure when [kids] watch TV, they see the atmosphere and how big the World Cup is, it might be one of the things that clicks in their head and [they say] ‘I’d rather be a football player than be an AFL player or something like that.'”

With Australia now set to progress to the round of 16 for just the second time in their history and two-match winners at the World Cup for the first time, it is impossible to imagine if Lecky had not done it. The next time an Aussie kid scores a goal in a park, at school, or in the backyard, they will undoubtedly take the opportunity to thump their chests, as Australia’s number 7 did.

Had he been born a decade and a half later, midfielder Jackson Irvine might have been one of those kids. As a youth, he was watching in the crowd as the Golden Generation made history; Kickstarting a love affair with the Socceroos’ shirt, which has now seen him 16 years later, matches that feat.

“I think so [we’ve inspired], Irwin said, “We were just talking about it.”

“To show Australian kids that Australian footballers, we can play at this level, we can compete at this level and it’s possible. I’m very proud to have inspired someone I hope.”

As the years go on, it will be remembered not only as the goal that ensured Australian football has the company of the Golden Generation in folklore, but also as the strike that led to a new generation of boys and girls coming out of the game. Fell in Love; Dreaming of being like Leckie against Denmark.

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