Away 1996/98 (Under-21)
Matchworn by Vince Grella (Game unkown)
There are eight references to Australian music hidden in the text. Can you spot them?
G’day mate! This time we’re visiting Australia – the land down under, where women glow and men plunder. So, grab yourself a cold Fosters and a delicious Vegemite sandwich and enjoy the show.
Since I was a child, I’ve always been fascinated by Australia. This humongous faraway land feels alien, yet familiar at the same time. Comprised of the vast inhospitable Outback, the “savage garden” that is the countries rainforest - stuffed with weird animals that are all about to send you to the boneyard in an instant, but at the same time seem to be inviable in any other environment – as well as the densely populated east coast; Australia is a country of contrasts.
Despite being the world's sixth-largest country, Australia is far from being a crowded house: with a population of only 25 million, their population is comparable to that of North Korea or the Ivory Coast.
Alongside the US and Canada, Australia is one of the few countries that dismissively call our favorite sport “soccer”… Dubbed “the Socceroos”, the countries football team has had an almost undisturbed reign in the OFC confederation, where they won the OFC Nations Cup four out of the six times they competed in it, only being challenged by their neighbor New Zealand.
In 2002 the team famously beat American Samoa 31-0, with striker Archie Thompson scoring thirteen goals! A match that still holds the record as the highest victory in an international match. Five years later, Australia’s football federation finally realized that continuously trashing small island nations isn’t particularly competitive, so they decided to join the AFC to compete with the stronger Asian teams. When they hosted the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 2015, the Socceroos managed to claim their first Asian title after beating South Korea in the final.
This shirt oozes T.N.T., because it’s a banger!
While it may not be the most spectacular design, the color and bright numbers certainly make up for that. Torn between green and blue, the shirt features some diagonal stripes that look like the scratch marks of a scary koala bear and, contrary to the yellow home shirt, a v-neck.
Of course, it’s mandatory to put a kangaroo on an Australian football shirt and since it’s impractical to put an actual kangaroo pouch on the shirt, the famous marsupial is only featured on the federation badge, alongside its emu friend. Incomprehensibly, the replica shirts came with a kangarooless badge.
The jersey was worn by defensive midfielder Vince Grella who made 47 appearances for the national team. During the late 90’s, Grella played for the U-20 and U-23 teams, so the shirt was likely used in a youth match, although I haven’t been able to figure out in which one.
It was given to a teammate during his time for Italian club Empoli and somehow found its way into my collection.
Getting all those music references into this article was pretty exhausting and I’ve been burning midnight oil! That’s why I’m going to end it here, before I develop some serious night fever…