Mitch Duke is our man in Qatar. In 2006 he was a kid in Kaiserslautern to witness Australia’s first win at a World Cup – a 3-1 victory over Japan. In 2010 he watched the 2-1 defeat of Serbia. And today he leads the line to progress to the last 16 breaking a drought of 16 years since Australia’s golden generation’s reached the round of 16 only to lose to a clear dive , where they lost 1-0 to Italy after Fabio Grosso did all he could to fall over Lucas Neill. The resultant penalty in the 96th minute ended a dream run.
We have already made history – the win vs Tunisia was the first win at a World Cup by an Australian born manager. The winning goal scored by a bloke who started his professional career under the same manager at Central Coast Mariners before spending 3 years in Japan with Shimizu S-Pulse. In 2019 he returned to the A-League with the Western Sydney Wanderers before a short stint in Saudi Arabia and a loan back to the Wanderers. Last August he returned to Japan with second-division club Fagiano Okayama with his wife and two kids living in the UK. Duke made his Socceroos debut in 2013 but spent the next 6 years in the wilderness before earning a recall for the start of the team’s qualification journey in 2019. He has been a regular fixture since and scored a sublime header that provides the nation with hope ahead of today’s game with Denmark.
“Every Australian team in history has been underestimated,” says Craig Goodwin “and that will always be the case from where we are, it’ll always be the case in the future. It’s something that helps us, and something we relish, being the underdog. We believe in ourselves and what we’re doing, and we will fight until the very end to get the result against Denmark and do the nation proud.”
Good luck lads! We’re with you all the way