Top five Socceroos moments in 2012

by Ben Somerford on Dec 30, 2012

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It wasn't a great year for the green and gold boys with an uninspiring start in final round World Cup qualifying and some poor friendly losses to Scotland & Denmark but there were some highlights.

In a year where #holgerout trended on Twitter and some fans called for Osieck's sacking, GGArmy has waded through the disappointments of 2012 and discovered a few bits and pieces worth getting excited over.

All in all, it was a year where Australia played 13 matches, winning seven, drawing three and losing three. The low was the World Cup qualifying defeat to Jordan but here's our five top Socceroos moments of 2012.

5. Rare friendly victory in South Korea
November 14, Hwaseong Stadium, South Korea 1 Australia 2

It may have been a friendly against a second-string Taeguk Warriors line-up and we may have been completely outplayed in the first half hour but the Koreans don't lose often on their own turf, so this result deserves some kudos. In fact, it was Korea's first home loss in 27 matches. Robbie Cornthwaite's late winner was possibly the easiest goal ever scored in the history of the game, but it was the kind of result the Socceroos needed after some negative press to win back the public.

4. Comeback win over Saudi Arabia
February 29, AAMI Park, Australia 4 Saudi Arabia 2

It may have been a dead rubber for the Socceroos with progress to the final round of 2014 World Cup qualifying already assured but with 17 minutes to go, 2-1 down, the prospect of a rare home defeat wouldn't have gone down well with the Aussie public. Four minutes later, the Socceroos were 4-2 up, with Harry Kewell, Alex Brosque and Brett Emerton all on the scoresheet in a sensational burst which the 24,000 strong crowd loved. Frank Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia were subsequently eliminated from the race to Brazil too.

3. Qualifying for the 2013 East Asian Cup
December 3-9, Hong Kong

Many considered this a fait accompli before a ball was even kicked but it was far from that. In fact, the tournament almost saw Osieck get the chop, at least in the eyes of fans on Twitter. The German's team selection came under question after uninspiring results against Hong Kong and North Korea left Australia needing two mammoth victories – not seen since our Oceania days - to qualify for the 2013 event. Against minnows Guam and Chinese Taipei, Osieck's A-League-Roos would win 9-0 and 8-0 to get the job done with Aaron Mooy, Aziz Behich and Tommy Rogic offering a glimpse of the future.

2. Thrilling qualifying draw with Japan
June 12, Suncorp Stadium, Australia 1 Japan 1

It wasn't a win, but as Tim Cahill quite candidly said afterwards, it was a performance which showed the oft-criticised old boys weren't done with just yet. The game came just days after the ordinary goalless draw with Oman to start final round qualifying and it was refreshing as Australia displayed attacking intent against a star-studded Japan side. After Mark Milligan was harshly sent off, Japan went ahead but Australia found a leveller through a Luke Wilkshire spotkick following a generous decision by the referee who had a bad night. Wilkshire almost curled home a late free-kick, while Sasa Ognenovski hit the woodwork too as the Socceroos offered renewed optimism.

1. Last-gasp 2-1 win over Iraq
October 16, Al Arabi Stadium, Iraq 1 Australia 2

After collecting just two points from their opening three qualifiers the Socceroos needed a win against Iraq in neutral Doha, so when Abdulzehra Ala'a put the Lions of Mesopotamia ahead on 72 minutes against the run of play, our World Cup campaign was suddenly up the proverbial creek without a paddle. Then with 10 minutes to go, when all seemed lost, Australia netted twice in five minutes to breathe new life into the race to Brazil. Cahill produced a trademark header first and then his old corner-flag boxing pal Archie Thompson nodded home Tommy Oar's cross to seal a stunning triumph. They did it the hard way, but they did it!