How the penalty in the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay changed the life of Socceroos star John Aloisi
John Aloisi will always be marked by that unforgettable penalty against Uruguay in Sydney.
The date was November 16, 2005 and the scenes at Australia Stadium at the time were electrifying.
In the blink of an eye, 32 years of heartbreak ended – and it was party time as strangers hugged in the stands and could hardly believe Australia were back at a World Cup for the first time since 1974.
John Aloisi celebrates his penalty against Uruguay that secured Australia a place at the 2006 World Cup
Like four years before, Uruguay once again stood between Australia and a place at this coveted invitation-only football event.
In 2001, the Socceroos traveled to South America and held on to a narrow 1-0 lead after the first leg before losing 3-0 in Montevideo.
This time it was up to them to come back from a one-goal deficit from the first leg.
Mark Bresciano leveled the score overall in the first half, but penalties were needed when the two sides couldn’t be separated after 120 minutes of football.
Harry Kewell, Tony Vidmar and Lucas Neill all scored for the Socceroos while Mark Schwarzer saved from Dario Rodriguez.
Mark Viduka’s miss briefly silenced Stadium Australia before a black save from Marcelo Zalayeta’s penalty gave the Socceroos a crucial advantage.
Aloisi, whose glittering resume includes stints in the English Premier League, Italy’s Serie A and Spain’s La Liga, came on as a substitute six minutes into extra time.
Now, in front of 83,000 adoring fans, he had the opportunity to become a national sports hero – and his trusty left foot did the rest. AAbsolute chaos ensued.
Aloisi chose his spot and fired home from 12 meters past Uruguay’s Fabian Carini
“When I hit him, I looked up and just in time saw the ball go in the net,” Aloisi told SEN’s This Is Your Sporting Life.
“I’m pretty sure it’s a goal but I’m not 100% sure so I ran to start celebrating but my face was a little bit stunned.
“Until I saw the net move probably half a second later and then the crowd just erupted, I knew it was definitely in.
“And then all the emotions came out.”
Aloisi ripped his shirt off and solemnly drove off in scenes that immediately became part of Australian sports folklore
The Socceroos joined an ecstatic Aloisi celebration on the lawn of Stadium Australia
Aloisi’s penalty caused absolute chaos in the stands at Stadium Australia on that famous November night in 2005
In iconic scenes, Aloisi – now Western United’s head coach in the A-League – frantically tore off his green and gold jersey and headed out to celebrate with family and friends.
His ecstatic teammates followed suit as collective painful memories of November 2001 in Montevideo against the same opponent were erased.
Uruguay’s “divine right” to win in Sydney – the now infamous words of their star player Álvaro Recoba before the game – evaporated.
Aloisi and Schwarzer remained the two names on everyone’s lips when the Socceroos announced themselves on the world stage.
The former Socceroos led Western United to their first A-League title in May
‘Finally. We thought it would happen, we dreamed [about] 32 years,” said the man affectionately known as “Johnny” after the game.
“You couldn’t ask for a better ending, with 83,000 viewers here to watch us, 20 million people in Australia following us.
“We just can’t believe it.”
The Adelaide-born striker was then called up in Guus Hiddink’s squad for Germany 2006 – and came off the bench to hit the net in Australia’s 3-1 group stage win over Japan.
Aloisi also scored in Australia’s 3-1 group stage win over Japan at the 2006 World Cup
And in the years that followed, Aloisi’s moment of truth continued to be celebrated.
In 2008, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame ranked the feat among their top three moments of all time.
High praise considering football has lived in the shadows behind the AFL and rugby league for decades.
And while the code didn’t work as many on the ground had hoped, Aloisi’s exploits on that famous night for the Socceroos will never be forgotten.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-11187647/How-penalty-World-Cup-qualifying-win-Uruguay-changed-Socceroos-star-John-Aloisis-life.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 How the penalty in the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay changed the life of Socceroos star John Aloisi