The goal that sent a football nation into delirium! Mathew Leckie's 60th minute goal for a 1-0 victory over Denmark in the final group game was enough to see Australia through to the Round of 16 for only the second time.
It was Leckie's 14th goal in his 73rd game for the Socceroos. Here's the exclusive extract from Andrew Howe's Encyclopedia of Socceroos Centenary Edition 1922 to 2022.
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After taking up football in Melbourne at the relatively late age of 11, Mathew Leckie played in the Victorian state league with Bulleen (2007–2009) from where he joined Adelaide United (2009–2011). Throughout 2009–2010 he was with the Young Socceroos, taking part in two ASEAN and one Asian Championships.
He then moved abroad for a ten year stint in Germany, with Borussia Moenchengladbach (2011–2013), FSV Frankfurt (2013–2014), Inglostadt (2014–2017) and Hertha Berlin (2017–2021). His 230 German league appearances included 139 in the top tier Bundesliga games, in addition to several more in cup and reserves competitions. He assisted Inglostadt to promotion to the Bundesliga in 2014, for the first time in the club’s history. With two goals in his first league game with Hertha Berlin (W2-0 v Stuttgart) and goals against Werder Bremen (D1-1) and Bayer Leverkusen (W2-1) in the following month he assisted Hertha to a strong start to the 2017–2018 Bundesliga season.
Leckie was initially selected in a Socceroo squad for an Asian Cup qualifier against Indonesia in March 2010 just after turning 19 years old, but did not make an on-field appearance until November 2012, as a substitute against South Korea in Hwaseong (W2-1). Over the following 18 months he played in seven more friendly matches before three starting appearances at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. After appearing in all six of Australia’s games at the 2015 Asian Cup, including the tournament final (W2-1 v South Korea) played in Sydney, he barely missed a game through to late 2018, including 19 World Cup qualifiers, 2017 Confederations Cup games, and three more World Cup finals appearances in Russia.
In 2019 Leckie captained the Socceroos for the first time, and was set for more regular appearances including as captain until travel complications during the Covid pandemic limited his availability for several games. Coinciding with a move back to Australia with Melbourne City (2021– ) he resumed regular national team appearances from November 2021, including in the successful final World Cup qualifying playoffs against United Arab Emirates and Peru in June 2022.
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For profiles and more of the 953 other men who have played for Australia, buy the Encyclopedia of Socceroos Centenary Edition at all good bookstores or online here for $66.