Tommy Oar says playing at the 2014 World Cup against the likes of Spain, who he shares the same heritage with, was a dream come true.
Oar started in every game for the Socceroos at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in a group of death featuring Chile, Holland and then-reigning champions Spain.
The team under Ange Postecoglou performed admirably, particularly in the opening two games and while Australia didn’t get a point, Oar said playing against football’s elite was the realisation of a childhood ambition.
“To play in a World Cup is every young footballer’s dream,” he told FourFourTwo.
“Growing up, I would stay up all night to watch all of the games, it's the biggest sporting event in the world.
"To have the chance to represent your country in such an event is something I'll never forget, and it was an amazing experience. It was a dream to play against teams of that quality and stature.
"Having played five years in Holland, and having Spanish heritage, made it even more special for me when the groups were decided.”
In their first group game against Chile the Socceroos suffered a 3-1 loss. However, the final scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story, as Australia had the South Americans under pressure when the score was 2-1.
Needing a win in their second group game against Holland, the Socceroos produced one of their great World Cup performances. A spectacular volleyed goal by Tim Cahill and a Mile Jedinak penalty saw Australia lead the 2010 World Cup finalists 2-1.
Unfortunately, Australia ended up succumbing to a 3-2 loss but Oar said he was proud of the way the team got better with each game.
“Ange Postecoglou’s attacking philosophy, even against powerhouse nations, took a lot of people by surprise, and we were unlucky not to pick up better results,” he said.
“After the first game it was mixed feelings. We fought back and performed so well, but couldn’t help but wonder how it might have turned out if we didn’t have such a nervous start.
“The second game was obviously the hardest to swallow, as it was the game that ultimately knocked us out of the tournament.”
During the tournament Oar made sure to get his hands on some football heritage and revealed his most prized piece of memorabilia was the Socceroos’ jersey he wore against Spain.
“They mean a lot,” he said. “My appreciation will be much bigger when I retire and look back on my career. Now my career is still going I haven't stopped much to think about it.”
“I tried to swap with my direct opponents in each game. Swapping shirts is something that at the time I don't always have the frame-of-mind to do or the foresight because I'm so caught up in the game, but it's something you appreciate later.
“At the World Cup I swapped with Daryl Janmaat, who I played against many times in Holland and Mauricio Isla the Chilean right back.
"It's a mutual sign of respect between players and also a good token to remember the match and opponents you played against."
Do you have a piece of World Cup memorabilia packed away in pristine condition for a rainy day?
Hyundai Australia are looking for your best items of World Cup memorabilia and will reward one winner with an all-expenses paid trip to Moscow for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Final!
To find out a bit more about the competition or enter your most prized World Cup item, go to; https://worldcup.hyundai.com/au/