Australia’s World Cup heroes hope their shock run to the final 16 will remodel soccer at dwelling after they went down combating in a 2-1 defeat to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina.
It was solely the second time that the Socceroos had acquired this far on the event and there was a way of pleasure after being edged out in Qatar on Saturday to one of many pre-World Cup favourites.
Attacking midfielder Riley McGree, who performs in England with second-tier Middlesbrough mentioned: “Just be proud, hold our heads high with what we’ve done here and hopefully inspired generations to come.”
“To do what we’ve done, you could say it’s ground-breaking and moving forward it’s only going to be good for the sport in the country,” the 24-year-old added.
Graham Arnold’s squad matched the “golden generation” from the 2006 World Cup of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka in reaching the final 16.
Their 1-0 group-stage wins over Tunisia and European semi-finalists Denmark have been the primary time Australia had gained successive video games at a World Cup.
Messi scored the opener after which a defensive blunder put Argentina 2-0 up, however an Australia workforce robust on togetherness and laborious work pegged them again with a deflected shot by Craig Goodwin 13 minutes from time.
The Socceroos then had possibilities to equalise late on, with Aziz Behich bursting from full-back on a mazy run which took him deep into the Argentina space earlier than a last-gasp Lisandro Martinez problem.
Teenager Garang Kuol additionally had a golden probability within the remaining seconds.
Goodwin admitted to “mixed emotions”.
“Disappointed to go out at this stage but to push Argentina to the very end… we gave it everything we’ve got and we had a couple of chances with Aziz and Garang and could have taken it into extra time.
“But we’re proud of what we’ve done and everything we’ve achieved.
“The biggest thing for us is we hope we’ve inspired the next generation of Australian boys and girls to do even better than what we’ve achieved here.
“Hopefully what we’ve achieved can put Australian football on the map and help the game grow,” Goodwin added.
The 30-year-old scored 9 minutes into Australia’s World Cup opener to stun France, earlier than the holders roared again to win 4-1.
The Socceroos then recovered to succeed in the final 16, their mixture of laborious work, unity and defensive nous, along with some moments of high quality, pushing Argentina to the very finish.
“We have the Aussie DNA, the Aussie spirit,” mentioned Goodwin.
“If we can produce the same level of technical ability and level of tactical ability as some European nations and South American nations and then have the Aussie DNA, we have a real chance to do something special.”