England vs Australia - A footballing clash 13 years in the making

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Football News

The age-old sporting rivalry between England and Australia has resonated over a number of codes over the years.

While clashes between the two nations in cricket and rugby have become the stuff of legends, football is another story.  

At the Stadium of Light, the two will clash for only the seventh time in their history.


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The last time they met was in February 2003 at Upton Park, where the Socceroos stunned the Three Lions winning 3-1, with goals from Tony Popovic, Harry Kewell, and Brett Emerton.

The starting lineup for England was an impressive one. Containing the names of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Michael Owen, Frank Lampard, Gary Neville and Ashley Cole, they were completely outplayed by the Aussies, whose proven star quality came from the Leeds United duo of Kewell and Mark Viduka.

In a pre-arranged, and many would say a farcical move, manager Sven-Goran Eriksson replaced the whole starting XI at half-time, replacing the stars with the likes of Paul Konchesky, Darius Vassell, and Francis Jeffers, who scored the lone English goal.

A certain Wayne Rooney also made his England debut that night off the bench. Even though the match carried the 'friendly' tag, the Australian players who played in the game, and the fans of the sport 'down under', certainly have not forgotten it.

Former Birmingham City and West Ham United winger Stan Lazaridis who was one of the starters for Australia on the night, recently reflected on the result: "There was a really good feeling in the camp going into the game. To be honest, I think we were really underestimated by England and caught them by surprise, but that won't happen this time around."

Both nations have changed since that game, moving on from their 'golden generations' and going down the rebuilding phase.

Australian manager Ange Postecoglou will be without players who are plying their trade in the Asian leagues, including former Everton and Millwall player Tim Cahill, as this fixture falls outside the FIFA window.

The Socceroos are currently ranked 50th in the world, with their most noteworthy achievement of recent times being the Asian Cup triumph against South Korea in January of last year.

Postecoglou nevertheless is looking forward to the challenge.

He said: "As an Australian, it is always a special occasion when we face England in any sport, probably more so with Football. England is obviously a quality team, and will be a good challenge away from home and It is constantly important that we test ourselves against the best."

Some names for the English audience to keep an eye on include, Crystal Palace, and Australian captain Mlle Jedinak, full-back Brad Smith (Liverpool), attacking midfielder Tom Rogic (Celtic), forward Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen) and goalkeeper Mathew Ryan (Valencia).

With three players in Roy Hodgson's squad for Euro 2016 still to be cut, it is certain that England will be taking this match a lot more seriously.

The Australian Football Federation are hoping to make this fixture a lot more frequent in the future, with the hope of a game in Australia before the World Cup in 2018. While it is not certain who will have the bragging rights this time around, what is for sure is that there will be plenty of passion on show.

While it is not certain who will have the bragging rights this time around, what is for sure is that there will be plenty of passion on show.

What is your score prediction for the England/Australia game? Have YOUR say in the comment section below!

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Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
England Football
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David Beckham

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