Legendary Socceroo Mark Viduka's ruthless rant that could open the eyes of Australian football fanatics across the nation.
WATCH: Mark Viduka's exclusive interview where he states his belief of a timely change regarding the management of Australian football.
Kosta Diamantopoulos of La Trobe University
It was the single strike that took Australia from mediocrity to World Cup competitors. John Aloisi struck from the penalty spot to qualify for the 2006 World Cup over Uruguay, beginning Australia’s ascension to becoming a footballing nation.
What the nation expected eventuated into obscurity as careers climaxed, quality dipped and mentalities clashed.
The squad has been plastered as the golden generation and consisted of Australian greats such as Mark Viduka, Mark Bresciano, Lucas Neill, Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell and an ensemble of others.
CHECK OUT: Kewell, Cahill and Viduka performing in the UEFA Champions League.
Bulky forward Viduka had already represented Australia for a number of years
before the 2005 qualification clash, influencing his selection as captain
leading to the world cup.
The Croatian-born sharp-shooter was the target-man to compliment a quick
and hungry Australian side but did not necessarily have the greatest of
matches as his battles with Diego Lugano were split and his penalty in the
shoot-out was wide.
There were plenty talking points provided from the iconic match, but perhaps
the comparisons between football then and now dominate the countries
analytical outlook of that historic night.
That is for Viduka, who sat down with ESPN’s Michael Cain to discuss that emphatic victory and dissect football in Australia today, which he did rather ruthlessly.
The interview highlights that legendary night, where John Aloisi stole the hearts of Australia and broke the spirits of Uruguay as his penalty sent the Socceroos to the world cup.
"The more times I watch the Viduka interview the more riveting I find it. Such an honest and genuine person. Australian football needs to start to engage with our former greats otherwise future generations of footballers and fans will continue to be lost", tweeted user BillM94.
The striker is known as one of premier league's historic "unsung heroes" as his most notable stint was with a fantastic Leeds United team alongside legendary Socceroo Harry Kewell.
"Leeds survived relegation in the following season with defiant performances from the Australian to become the saviour of the club, scoring over 20 goals", states Liam Haycock of Football Chronicles (click here to read).
Viduka reminisces about the moment his missed penalty was rendered redundant as his side qualified for Germany 2006.
“It was a huge relief to all of us. Belonging to that football family for that many years and going to all those qualifiers before-hand; the Argentina game, the Scotland game, the first Uruguay game aswell. It was a huge relief for us.”
Although he experienced euphoria with his side and completed a rather successful World Cup tournament, Viduka can’t help but remember detrimental behind-the-scenes characteristics that may have lead to the down-fall of Australian football.
WATCH: Australia's fantastic World Cup 2006 campaign
The Leeds legend has always been known for his stern, serious and no nonsense attitude and only furthered this reputation as he touched base on how he feels about the current state of the Football Federation Australia.
“You have people running football in Australia who don’t have a clue about football and they don’t want to get older players involved who actually have that experience, who have been in those situations in front of 100,000 people when the s*** hits the fan.”
“People have experience in the highest level of football and there not using it whether that’s their own insecurities (or not). “
Upon being informed of comments made by FFA Chairman Chris Nikou regarding the squad selection missing key players for the 2007 Asian Cup, Viduka gave his uncut opinion on the federation itself.
“Well, it just shows you what type of people are running football in the country (Australia). That comment just tells you everything.”
The 44-year-old witnessed a sudden change in the attitudes between generations and identifies key characteristic differences between those closer to his age, and those that were on their way in, as he was getting older.
“My problem was that, my generation of players that I grew up with were a different breed of the newer generation.”
“To be honest I wasn’t a big fan of the newer generation of players. A lot of them were more interested in how many deals they were having on the side through sponsorship and all that sort of stuff and getting their head on television and things like that (rather) then actually playing for the national team.”
“That was the main reason I stopped playing for the national team.”
Since the ‘Golden Generation’ triumphantly qualified and participated in the 2006 World Cup, Australian football has taken a dive in quality with only one major trophy in the 2015 Asian Cup added to the national team’s accolades.
Attendance to A-League games have dropped drastically whilst overseas players are struggling to maintain impactful rules in their clubs which can’t be helping the quality of our national team’s performance.
After a dreadful World Cup performance in 2018 that saw the Socceroos fail to score a single goal in open play, it has become quite clear that changes need to be made. Perhaps the FFA should look no further than Australian legend Mark Viduka for some helpful advice.
CHECK OUT THE RESPONSES TO THE INTERVIEW