AFC Men’s National Team of the Year 2015: Australia
New Delhi: AFC Asian Cup 2015 winners Australia have been named the AFC National Team of the Year after an outstanding campaign on home soil saw the Socceroos crowned continental champions at the end of an epic edition of the Asian Football Confederation’s flagship tournament.
Australia became the first senior men’s national team to win titles with two different FIFA confederations after a 2-1 extra-time victory over Korea Republic, who were also short-listed for the AFC National Team of the Year Award alongside 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup quarter-finalists Uzbekistan.
A packed house at Stadium Australia saw eventual tournament MVP Massimo open the scoring just before the half-time interval but Son Heung-min was on target with a last-gasp leveller in the 91st minute to take the tie into extra-time.
But halfway through the additional half-hour James Troisi put Australia back in front and secured the Asian crown for the hosts as the Soccerroos exorcised the demons of four years ago when they lost out in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup final in Qatar to Japan courtesy of Tadanari Lee's extra-time winner.
Australia’s victory over the South Koreans also saw them avenge their group stage defeat to the same opponents, with the Socceroos going down 1-0 to the Taeguk Warriors having already secured their place in the last eight with victories over Kuwait and Oman.
After a 2-0 defeat of China in the quarter-finals was followed by an identical win over the UAE in the semis, Australia’s two in the final saw the Socceroos end as the tournament’s top scorers with 14 goals from six matches.
Photo: Lagardère Sports