Welcome back! Socceroos are given a hero’s welcome as they land back in Australia after historic World Cup run in Qatar ended in heartbreak against Lionel Messi’s Argentina
A number of Socceroos players returned to Australia on Monday night after their exhilarating World Cup run came to an end against Argentina.
The players were met by friends and families, posing for pictures and signing autographs for legions of fans at both airports.
Mathew Ryan led a contingent of Socceroos players who returned to Australia on Monday
Australia were eliminated in the knockout stage on Sunday morning (AEDT) after losing 2-1 to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina.
Trailing by two goals with 15 minutes to go, the Socceroos were handed a lifeline when Enzo Fernandez deflected Craig Goodwin’s effort in his own net.
They then came inches away from snatching a dramatic late equaliser through Kuol, only for Emiliano Martinez to produce a superb save to deny the 18-year-old.
‘We played against one of the best teams and the best players who have played the game,’ Maclaren said.
The Socceroos skipper was among a number of players landing at Sydney Airport
Garang Kuol also touched down in the New South Wales capital on Monday night
The 18-year-old posed for pictures with fans after he returned to Sydney from Qatar
‘So we can hold our heads high and know that it’s the best finish that a Socceroos team has had at a World Cup and now, that’s the standard.’
Deng struck a similar stone. ‘It was really amazing,’ he said.
‘It is a dream come true for me and for many others. This is our first World Cup for a lot of the young boys that are coming in.
‘It’s just something we are never going to forget.’
Jason Cummings was also part of the contingent of Socceroos players returning to Sydney
As was Andrew Redmayne, the hero of Australia’s World Cup playoff win against Peru
Thomas Deng was one of the Socceroos players who landed in Melbourne from Qatar
He posed for pictures with fans and signed autographs for the supporters
The Socceroos defender was joined on the plane by teammate Jamie Maclaren (left)
Australia arrived in Qatar as ranked outsiders in Group D, but rebounded from a 4-1 drubbing against France in the opening game to reach the Round of 16 for the first time since 2006.
The Socceroos won two games at the World Cup for the first time in their history and kept two clean sheets, after going without conceding just once in their five previous appearances at the tournament combined.
And their performances in Qatar earned enormous public support back in Australia, with thousands of fans gathering to watch the action in Federation Square in Melbourne throughout the group stages.
Cameron Devlin (left) joined Kuol in the arrivals terminal at Sydney Airport
Devlin went viral on social media on Sunday after securing Lionel Messi’s shirt following the Socceroos’ 2-1 loss to Argentina in the Round of 16 clash
Marco Tilio, who replaced the injured Martin Boyle in the squad, returned home on Monday
The Melbourne City forward was mobbed by fans at Melbourne Airport
Public screenings were also set up in Sydney and Brisbane for the clash against Argentina, as Graham Arnold’s men looked to become the first Australia team to reach the quarter-finals.
‘We were looking back after games and it was crazy, all the scenes we were seeing around Australia,’ Tilio said.
‘I think that is the biggest thing that made us push to want more and, overall, we united the nation and that’s what we planned to do.’