Australian football came of age 10 years ago on a sweat-drenched night in Hanoi. It was the Socceroos first match as an 'Asian' nation – the exotic region was beckoning us into a new era – and we followed under the pretence that football down under could grow to bountiful new heights.
Australia’s greatest footballer never hit the heights in 2007’s tournament, despite the promise he offered to already over-confident Australian fans. Yet Kewell’s loyalty to the Socceroos was never in question, and he performed far more admirably in the 2011 tournament.
Although he remained with Liverpool for a few more injury-ravaged seasons, Kewell finally left for Galatasaray in 2011, where the winger gained a new lease on life. His impact in a short spell in Turkey (before returning to disappointing effect in the A-League) has never been forgotten by the amazing Turkish fans.
Unlike Culina, who has seemed quite content to start on managements lowest rung, Kewell has shown loftier ambitions, already stating several times that he wishes to coach Liverpool.
Almost immediately following retirement, Kewell completed his UEFA B and A licences, and took over as u/21 coach at Watford. He lasted barely a few months, before getting sacked for poor results.
Not to be deterred, Kewell took the manager role at League Two club Crawley Town, becoming the first Australian to coach a professional English side. He’ll have his work cut out for him with the (other) Red Devils, who finished 19th last season.
But as one of the few foreign-based Australian coaches, it does make him – by de facto – one to watch for the future.
While Thompson was already on the outer in 2007, having missed the 2006 World Cup squad and barely featured in a friendly since 2004, he did make one substitute appearance against Iraq, to little avail.
Many thought it was the end, but Thompson’s physical longevity and fighting spirit saw him experience a rebirth after 2007, and continue to feature for the Socceroos until 2013.
In 2012, Archie won 12 Socceroos caps and scored an impressive 7 goals. But thing’s began to drop off quite quickly for the Melbourne Victory icon in 2013.
Although he continued to be an illustrious battler, age and a knee-reconstruction permitting, Thompson wasn’t the lightning-quick goal scoring machine he once was. After 224 appearances and an A-league record 90 goals for Victory, Thompson left and joined former NSL heavyweights Heidelberg United.
Unfortunately, the marquee man couldn’t score for the Warriors, putting in average displays before dropping down another division to play with Murray United in the Victorian NPL 2. The goals may have dried up, but his fiery determination never will.