Australia is an island nation in the the Indian Ocean. Most of the country is sparsely populated by humans, but given the density of killer spiders, killer snakes, killer crocodiles and giant bouncing rats, it's a miracle that anyone can survive there at all. Even the seas aren't safe and are filled with man-eating sharks and other nasties so that even master survivalist Steve Irwin was stabbed to death by a fish there.
The main population centres are currently Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Karl Kennedy's house.
Despite the infuriating tendency for Australians to be good at sports, Australia does not have much to boast about when it comes to football. Perhaps because of their ability in other major global sports, such as long distance swimming and field hockey, Australia has assumed that their entrance into the last 2 world cup finals meant that they were going to win these events. When the Australian teams failed miserably, the Australian public called for the immediate beheading of their coaches, arguing that they were dirty Dutch foreigners who were probably wasting their taxpayer funded wages on drugs and hookers.
Australians prefer to call the beautiful game 'soccer' to differentiate it from Aussie Rules, which is basically soccer with absolutely no rules and bonus points if you miss the goals. Aussie Rules is somewhat of a misnomer, since from an outsiders point of view, the only rules appear to be:
- no killing opponents (in cold blood)
- matches must be followed by a 'barbie' with food and tasteless lager to be provided by the losing team
- winner gets to kick a dingo
Despite this lack of national recognition, Australia were nearly quite successful at the 2006 World Cup before they were cruelly undone by the more experienced (cheating) Italians.
A Lot Like Ireland
Australia bares strong similarity to Eire, in that:
- both are islands
- both used to be owned by Britain
- the main national pass-times are drinking and fighting
- most inhabitants spend their 20's in England, working in bars, moaning about how shit England is
In footballing terms, the two are also similar, since:
- both are not very good
- both call other sports football, even though their native alternatives involve picking the ball up and fighting. Since no one else understands their bizarre games, International Rules was invented and then promptly banned by UN Resolution 1442. Even by Gaelic/Aussie standards there was far too much fighting.
- Both have a tendency for getting mediocre foreigners to play football for them. Famous fake Irishmen include the blatantly English: Andy Townsend, Mick McCarthy, Mark Lawrenson, Rory Delap and Tony Cascarino. Notable fake Aussies include: Paul Wade, Peter 'Big Willie' Wilson and Attila Abonyi.
- Both experience mindless waves of sentimentalism and rampant stereotyping whenever they qualify for the World Cup. The Irish are loveable Ginger haired emerald underdogs blessed with the 'luck of the Irish' - luck which allows them to reach the later stages of major tournaments without scoring any goals. The Australians inspire frequent references to 'shrimp on the barby,' Neighbours characters from the 80s and intercourse with sheep.
Much of the history of the Australian National Football team is a tedious four year cycle of thrashing a string of small Pacific Islands and then losing a two-legged play-off against a team from a real continent. Occasionally though, the Socceroos do qualify for the tournament proper, where they lose to several teams from a real continent.
1970 World Cup
Australia lost in the final play-off of the Oceania qualifying tournament against Israel. Any geographer will tell you that Israel is not in Oceania, but given that Israel was not exactly popular with it's Asian neighbours at the time (or indeed any time) it was decided they should be put in a continent where no one would really notice.
1974 World Cup
Given the tedious qualification process and the fact West Germany is literally on the other side of the World, Australia really shouldn't have bothered with the 1974 edition.
Although the Socceroos did qualify, they went on to lose 2-0 to East Germany and 3-0 to West Germany. Already eliminated, Australia then played a pointless goaless draw with Chile, just so that each nation wouldn't have to go all that way home empty handed.
They really shouldn't have bothered.
1978 - 2002 World Cups
Australia spent most of the next 30 years jetting around the Pacific Ocean, winning the Oceania qualifying tournament and then losing a play-off to also-rans from other confederations. These were:
- Scotland (1986)
- Argentina (1994)
- Iran (1998)
- Uruguay (2002)
In 1990, Australia had once again been thwarted by their not-really-from-Oceania rivals Israel.
2006 World Cup
In 2006, Australia managed to qualify for the World Cup, to be held once again in Germany.
As usual they won the OFC tournament by beating a string of islands that used to be French nuclear testing grounds and then New Zealand. Australia were then drawn against bitter old rivals Uruguay.
Australia were drawn into Group F with World champions Brazil, Croatia and Japan. The Socceroos came from behind to beat Japan 3-1. Predictably, they then lost to Brazil.
In their final group game, English referee and amateur comedian Graham Poll decided to have a bit of a laugh at the expense of the Australians lack of knowledge of the rules. Poll denied the Socceroos two clear penalties: firstly when Josip Simunic literally bodied slammed Mark Viduka and again for a blatant handball by Tomis. Poll informed the confused Australians that the Croats were not punished, since in association football, the 'Sweeper' is allowed to kick other players, whilst the 'Rover' is allowed to bat the ball with his hands in the area. Not wanting to look like amateurs, the clueless Australians shrugged and went along with it, cursing their decision not to play a 'Rover'.
Giving out cards like it was Christmas, Poll sent two players off for fouls that weren't second bookable offences, but then didn't send off Simunic, despite booking him twice. It took three yellows before the Croat was finally dismissed.
The match finished 2-2, which was enough to send Australia through to the next round. After the game, bemused Aussie shot-stopper Mark Schwarzzer remarked, "Streuth mate, I had no idea soccer were so bleedin' complicated." When asked about Poll's decision making he shrugged it off saying, "Crikey! At times it felt like he were making it all up, mate. But surely no organising body of a major football tournament would use such a useless umpire in such an important game. "
Poll's officiating was so bad that after the game, even tyrannical FIFA overlord Sepp Blatter commented, "Had Australia lost the game and gone out of the World Cup, they would have had grounds to request a replay." He failed to mention that FIFA obviously would've ignored that request in the same way the useless old twats always do.
Round of 16
In the round of 16, Australia held Italy to a 0-0 draw up until the 95th minute. Rather than go through the tedium of extra-time and face the lottery of penalties, despicable specimen Fabio Grosso opted to dive shamelessly in the box. Unfortunately for the sport of football and justice itself, the ref bought it and Totti's penalty put the Azzuri through with the last kick of the game.
The Aussie's achievements were minor news back home, with the press more focussed on the recent thriller between Wollongong and Dunedoo in the Australian Football league. The only real media coverage was a scathing editorial in The Australian Times deriding soccer for it's lack of violence.
The Italian press on the other hand, were highly critical of the narrow margin of victory over a lesser side. La Gazzetta dello Sport led with the headline, "Shame on you Italy! Having to resort to cheating to win against this nation of convicts and unrealistic soap stars. Surely you can sink no lower." While it was true that in recent years the story arcs of Neighbours and Home & Away had become increasingly convoluted, Italy did manage to sink much lower. Marco Matteratzi would go on to (allegedly) tell Zinedine Zidane that his mother was an "Al-Qaeda terrorist whore." The resulting head-butt from the enraged Zizu cast a shadow over the career of the greatest player of a generation and helped Italy towards a World Cup that they really didn't deserve.
Zidane's head-butt was later voted moment of the tournament in Australia and the Gooloogong Stingrays immediately began negotiations to sign him up as an Aussie Rules player.
2010 World Cup
In 2010 Australia entered the World Cup with the full expectation that their single victory in the 2006 World Cup meant that they were a superior football team who deserved to win the cup. This confidence allowed Australia to begin their World Cup campaign with a team made up of reitrees who had been offered a free safari in Africa if they were willing to leave their Noosa old-people's homes and have a bit of a kick around in South Africa.
Australia were drawn into Group D, which was quickly labelled by the Australian media as the 'Group of Death'. This had more to do with the fact that the group consisted of three nations that had committed genocide in the previous century than the actual quality of the competition.
In its first game, Australia suffered a narrow 4-0 loss to Germany, whose confused post-game news conference suggested they actually thought they had just participated in a charity-based training session with underpriviledged and homeless South Africans.
In its second game, Australia was able to redeem itself by scoring a draw against a 3rd world country whose team was made up of a bunch of guys who had previously been evicted from the football stadium for loitering and causing a public nuisance.
Australia's final group game was against Serbia (but not Montenegro, who had decided it was better to avoid this sort of thing). Australia needed to win this game by a margin of 14 goals. When this did not happen the Australian public was so disgusted they deposed their Prime Minister and tried to initiate a revolution. The riots that ensued persuaded the Australian public that violence was better left on the sports field, and they went back to watching the lawn bowls on ABC2.
2014 World Cup
Despite the World Cup being hosted in Brazil, a country akin to Down Under from their shared extreme heat to inhabiting dangerous wildlife such as man-eating snakes, knife-wielding monkeys and even fish that hook themselves onto a man's trousers (bloody hell, Brazil is the Oz of South America), Australia failed to win any of their group stage matches despite starting former Evertonian and noted midget Tim Cahill. The Aussies bowed out after losing their third match to disgraced ex-champions Spain, whom were by far the most memorable squad in Group B for a) losing 5-1 to the exact same Dutch team they beat four years prior, and b) enlisting equally disgraceful Brazilian hack Diego Costa. Costa's highlights were being well-received by his homeland in the same vein as Figo's return to Barcelona as a Real player, sans the decapitated pig.
Diego Simeone would admit regret for ever having him in Atletico Madrid, calling him "the bizarre lovechild of Heskey and Robinho".