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It was the 16th November 2006 and as already-qualified teams were preparing and selecting their squads for the 18th World Cup competition, there was a match with it all on the line as a working-class Australian side faced South American stars Uruguay.

The return fixture between Uruguay and Australia kicked off with Uruguay at a 1-0 advantage from the first leg but it was now time to play on Australian turf in the Telstra Stadium, Sydney.

The match was played in front of a loud and passionate 82,698 fans.

The aggregate winners would see their nation officially qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Both sides lined up with familiar squads with limited changes compared to the first clash so it was sure to be another tight and unpredictable affair.

With an emphatic crowd creating a roaring atmosphere, there was one specific chant that trumped all; the famous “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie.” 

It was a Mark Bresciano goal and a Mark Schwarzer goalkeeping clinic that lead to Australian euphoria as they realised they were going to Germany after an emphatic penalty shootout. 

Following a well-taken 36th minute finish, Bresciano performed his famous unorthodox celebration as he scored and stood as still and straight as possible. 

Teammates swarmed him after what seemed like an eternity and one could only imagine what the Australian legend saw in those few seconds post-equaliser.

The first half saw Uruguay hold the dominant possession percentage with 60% to 40%, whilst the second half combined with extra time saw Australia edge with 55% to 45%. 

From early in the first half the match was played with aggression and determination as both sides accumulated 60 total fouls together. 

Australia committed 31 fouls whilst Uruguay committed 29.

Yellow cards were given to Tony Popovic, Tony Vidmar, Carlos Diogo, Mario Regueiro, Jason Culina, Dario Rodriguez, Pablo Garcia and Harry Kewell.

The game was played with many one on one battles throughout as both sides attempted to win the mental match-up. 

Scott Chipperfield and Gustavo Varela clashed multiple times throughout the match with Chipperfield getting the better of his counterpart, tackling him successfully four times.

Ricardo Morales and Gustavo Varela were clearly struggling to outwit Chipperfield, as Uruguayan frustration was prominent in the first half, causing a delegated staff member to be sent to the stands. 

Paolo Montero positioned himself well to intercept three of Harry Kewells dangerous low-crosses in the second half keeping his side in the game.

Known as Uruguay’s greatest asset, Alvaro Recoba found himself consistently pressured by multiple Australian players when in possession of the ball. 

The Inter Milan winger’s main threat was being the passing specialist of the match as he found himself striking a dangerous dead-ball seven times and provided his teammates with 5 key passes.

Uruguay’s main tactic throughout the match involved the right wing as Recoba, Varela, Diogo and Morales were all utilising ‘one-two passes’ but ultimately were not effective due to Australia’s jarring defensive performance.

Bresciano was replaced by John Aloisi in extra time after completing 13 unsuccessful forward passes.

Chipperfield proved to be Australia’s most prolific defender as he accumulated 11 interceptions and tackles, the most on the pitch.

Diego Lugano and Lucas Neil were also great defensive assets for their respective sides as they both collected eight defensive contributions each.

Uruguay goalkeeper Fabian Carini was one of his sides stand-out players as he made a total of ten saves whilst also catching 13 Australian set pieces.

Mark Schwarzer ignited 6 pacey counterattacks with saves followed by throwing distributions to midfield teammates. The goalkeeper finished the 120 minutes with eight total saves.

Harry Kewell’s famous two ponytails took to the pitch for an early 35th minute substitute as Hiddink decided to make a tactical switch by taking off Popovic, playing the Liverpool midfielder in a box-to-box role.

Kewell played a near-perfect performance completing 100% of his tackles whilst also providing two key passes, five key dribbles, one dangerous shot and creating the chance for Bresciano to score.

Fabian Estoyanoff and Varela both scored for Urugay whilst Marcelo Zalayeta and Dario Rodriguez saw their shots saved by the Australian goalkeeper.

Mark Schwarzer stood up for his nation as he saved two out of the four Uruguayan penalties, allowing for his side to qualify for the World Cup with a 4-2 penalty win.

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