Socceroo Ajdin Hrustic has continued Australian football’s run of recent success, claiming the Europa League crown with his club Eintracht Frankfurt in Spain this morning (AEST).
Hrustic and his Frankfurt teammates defeated Rangers FC from Scotland on penalties after the score was locked at 1-1 after extra time, with the 16-time Socceroo entering the pitch as a substitute for Djibril Sow.
Hrustic became just the fifth Socceroo to take the field in a European Final [UEFA Cup, Europa League, UEFA Champions League] – building on the legacy created by Australians Ned Zelic (1993), Harry Kewell (2005 and 2007), Mark Viduka (2006), and Mark Schwarzer (2006 and 2010) – when he entered the fray in Seville.
And Hrustic kept his cool in the penalty shootout, successfully converting Frankfurt’s second spot kick to help the revered German club claim a European crown.
Another Australian, Ellie Carpenter, will feature in a European Final this weekend when her formidable French team Olympique Lyonnais take on FC Barcelona in the UEFA Women’s Champions League decider in Italy.
Carpenter, who was an unused substitute when Lyon won the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2020, is set to play a significant role in this year’s showpiece as her club hunts an astonishing sixth continental crown in the past seven seasons. When she walks onto Juventus Stadium, Carpenter will join the lineage of Aussie women to play in a European final that includes Sam Kerr, Alison Forman, and Sharon Black.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, said: “Football Australia would like to congratulate Socceroo Ajdin Hrustic on winning the Europa League with Eintracht Frankfurt this morning. At club level there are few bigger achievements, and Ajdin now joins an esteemed list of Australian footballers to have claimed a medal in one of Europe’s top club competitions.”
“We also wish Ellie well in her Final this weekend. Like Ajdin, Ellie has played an important role in her club’s continental campaign, and these moments from elite Australian players will serve to inspire the many young boys and girls glued to their screens for the games.”
“Many Australian women and men – on the pitch and on the sideline – have been excelling in Europe and Asia of late, which is fantastic for our national teams and the ongoing growth and development of football in Australia,” he said.
On top of Hrustic and Carpenter’s efforts, the CommBank ParaMatildas recorded a historic result in the first ever IFCPFC Women’s World Cup earlier this week, winning silver.
As well as the historic team medal, CommBank ParaMatildas co-captain Georgia Beikoff claimed the Golden Boot of the inaugural tournament with 13 goals in five games, while custodian Katelyn Smith was named the Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
“The ParaMatildas’ performances demonstrated all that we love about our national teams and captured the admiration of many Australians,” added Johnson.
In addition to the achievements listed above, the world has witnessed Sam Kerr (Chelsea FC) win the FA Women’s Super League and Women’s FA Cup double, scoring key goals in the process, recently. Coach Tanya Oxtoby (Chelsea FC) assisted Emma Hayes throughout this period of success for the London club.
Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso won the FA Women’s League Cup with Manchester City, Clare Wheeler, Angela Beard, and Indiah-Paige Riley claimed the Danish Cup with Fortuna Hjørring, and coach Joe Montemurro from Juventus FC won the 2021/22 Seria A Women in Italy.
From a men’s football perspective, Ange Postecoglou led Scottish giants Celtic FC to the Scottish Premiership in grand scenes in Glasgow last weekend, with Socceroo Tom Rogic making an important contribution for Postecoglou’s side in that triumph.
Denis Genreau helped fire his club, FC Toulouse, to the Ligue 2 title in France, while at the same time securing promotion to France’s top-flight for the 2022/23 campaign.
Recent Socceroos debutants Nathaniel Atkinson and Joel King are also set to compete in domestic Cup Finals over the coming week. Atkinson’s Heart of Midlothian side will take on Rangers FC at Hampden Park in the Scottish Cup Final this weekend, while King’s Odense Boldklub will challenge FC Midtjylland at Brondby Stadium in the Danish Cup Final.
Meanwhile, Socceroo Ryan McGowan claimed the 2022 Kuwaiti Premier League title with his club, Kuwait SC, last month, while Bailey Wright will play in the League One Final against Wycombe Wanderers this weekend, with a place in the Championship in England on the line.
The individual performances of Australia’s players augurs well for the Socceroos, who will head into camp in Doha in the coming weeks for their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 play-off matches, firstly against United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, 7 June 2022 (local time).
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