Australia’s campaign to qualify for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico boiled down to two games against Scotland in 1985 – and delivered another dose of dismay to Socceroos fans.
The game wasn’t one to live long in the memory but was at least notable for the visit of future Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
After a strong run of results during which the Socceroos saw off the likes of New Zealand and Israel, all that lay in the way was a two-legged decider against Scotland.
The Scots got the upper hand, winning the first leg 2-0 at Hampden Park, so the Socceroos knew exactly what they had to do in the return game at Melbourne’s Olympic Park.
Australia coach had a plan and told the Scots to “pack their sunscreen” as he aimed to used Australia’s climate to his advantage – but for some unknown reason, it was decided the game would be played in the cool evening instead and the Socceroos found themselves chasing the game right from the start.
In a hard-fought game, the Socceroos pushed the visitors all the way, throwing everything they had at Ferguson’s determined Scottish side.
John Kosmina went close with a header and Zarko Odzakov grazed the crossbar with a rocket of a free kick but it wasn’t to be, as Scotland held onto their lead and Australia faced watching another World Cup from the sidelines.
Enjoy Scotland great Kenny Dalglish's engaging commentary and fine mullet in this highlights package from the '80s...
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