Football Australia and the Socceroos family are saddened to hear of the passing of cap #191, 1974 FIFA World Cup representative and Football Australia Hall of Fame member, Attila Abonyi.
Abonyi scored 25 goals in 61 'A' Internationals and pulled on the green and gold 89 times in total.
The Hungary-born striker is Australia’s equal fifth highest goalscorer of all time and is recognised by many as one of the greatest attacking talents to represent the nation.
Attila 'Atti' Abonyi was born in Budapest in 1946 and migrated to Melbourne with his family in 1957.
A St Kilda junior from 1958, he developed quickly as a striker, playing in the Victorian State League as a 15-year-old and representing the Victorian state team by age 17.
Abonyi made his senior international debut in 1967, scoring 11 times in his first nine games for his country at the age of 20.
These matches were played in war-torn Vietnam as part of the Quốc Khánh Cup (Friendly Nations Tournament), which saw Australia defeat some of Asia’s strongest nations to win the nation’s first ever piece of international silverware.
With two hat-tricks in the group stage and a goal in the final, Abonyi’s contributions helped steer Australia to a historic victory.
In the years that followed, he continued to serve as a key part of Australia's successful 1974 World Cup qualifying campaign and appeared in all three Socceroos matches at the World Cup Finals.
Most notably, when playing against hosts and eventual winners West Germany, one particular shot from Abonyi was denied by Sepp Maier's goal frame – inches away from what would have been Australia’s first World Cup goal.
He scored 25 goals in ‘A’ international matches, a record which stood for several years, and is now the fifth highest of all time, equal with John Kosmina.
At club level, Abonyi played with Melbourne Hungaria (1962–1968) and NSW clubs St George Budapest (1969–1976) and Sydney Croatia (1977–1979).
At Melbourne Hungaria his hat-trick in the 1967 Australia Cup final secured a 4-3 victory against APIA Leichhardt, which complimented the Victorian state league title for Hungaria that year.
He won five premierships as a player in New South Wales, two with St George, and three in a row with Sydney Croatia.
His career in Sydney included four state league Grand Final victories, during a time where he was the top scorer in NSW in 1972 and 1973 and represented NSW’s state side several times.
After turning to coaching, Abonyi won three NSW championships in a row: two as player-coach with Sydney Croatia (1978 and 1979), and then with Melita Eagles in 1980.
He also enjoyed Head Coach stints with national league teams Canberra City and Sydney Croatia, along with other coaching appointments.
Abonyi was inducted into the first Football Australia Hall of Fame intake in 1999.
Chairman of Football Australia, Chris Nikou paid tribute to Abonyi and his contribution to the game in Australia.
“Today we mourn the loss of one of the greats of our game in Attila Abonyi,” Nikou said.
“Attila was part of a brigade of pioneers who brought football into the wider consciousness of the Australian public, particularly through that historic FIFA World Cup appearance in 1974.
“An unbelievable talent whose attacking prowess was revered across the country, Atilla’s story and career typified football in Australia during that period and his influence has been integral to the development of the game as we know it today.
“A deserved Hall of Fame inductee, Atilla will be remembered for his role as a player and a coach in the growth of football in Australia.
“On behalf of Football Australia, our thoughts are with Atilla’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
All of Football Australia and the Socceroos family sends its condolences to the Abonyi family, those closest to Attila, and everyone he impacted through football over the years. Vale.
Attila Abonyi - Socceroo stats, appearances and goals
89 international appearances (36 goals) 1967–1977
A internationals: 61 games (25 goals)
Non-A internationals: 28 games (11 goals)
03-Jun-67 v SCOTLAND (in Melbourne) Friendly L0-2
05-Nov-67 v NEW ZEALAND (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam National Day Tournament W5-3, 3 goals
07-Nov-67 v SOUTH VIETNAM (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam National Day Tournament W1-0
11-Nov-67 v SINGAPORE (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam National Day Tournament W5-1, 3 goals
12-Nov-67 v MALAYSIA (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam National Day Tournament Semi Final W1-0
14-Nov-67 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Ho Chi Minh City) Vietnam National Day Tournament Final W3-2, 1 goal
17-Nov-67 v INDONESIA (Jakarta) Friendly W2-0, 1 goal
21-Nov-67 v SINGAPORE (Singapore) Friendly W6-1, 2 goals
23-Nov-67 v Combined Services (Singapore) Friendly W8-1, 2 goals
26-Nov-67 v MALAYSIA (Kuala Lumpur) Friendly W4-0, 1 goal
19-Jul-69 v GREECE (Sydney) Friendly W1-0, 1 goal
23-Jul-69 v GREECE (Brisbane) Friendly D2-2
27-Jul-69 v GREECE (Melbourne) Friendly L0-2
10-Oct-69 v JAPAN (Seoul) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W3-1
14-Oct-69 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Seoul) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W2-1
16-Oct-69 v JAPAN (Seoul) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D1-1
20-Oct-69 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Seoul) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D1-1
23-Nov-69 v RHODESIA (Maputo) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D1-1
27-Nov-69 v RHODESIA (Maputo) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D0-0
29-Nov-69 v RHODESIA (Maputo) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W3-1
04-Dec-69 v ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) FIFA World Cup Qualifier L0-1
14-Dec-69 v ISRAEL (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D1-1
13-Jun-71 v English FA (Sydney) Friendly L0-1
20-Jun-71 v English FA (Melbourne) Friendly L0-1
17-May-72 v Dundee (Adelaide) Friendly L1-2
11-Jun-72 v Wolverhampton (Melbourne) Friendly W1-0, 1 goal
17-Jun-72 v Santos (Sydney) Friendly D2-2
07-Oct-72 v INDONESIA (Jakarta) Friendly W4-1 (sub)
09-Oct-72 v NEW ZEALAND (Jakarta) Friendly W3-1, 1 goal
14-Oct-72 v South Vietnam U23 (Ho Chi Minh City) Friendly W2-0
15-Oct-72 v SOUTH VIETNAM (Ho Chi Minh City) Friendly W1-0
22-Oct-72 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Seoul) Friendly D1-1
29-Oct-72 v PHILIPPINES (Manila) Friendly W6-0, 1 goal
16-Feb-73 v BULGARIA (Adelaide) Friendly L1-3 (sub)
04-Mar-73 v NEW ZEALAND (Auckland) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D1-1 (sub)
13-Mar-73 v INDONESIA (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W2-1 (sub)
18-Mar-73 v IRAQ (Melbourne) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D0-0 (sub)
24-Mar-73 v INDONESIA (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W6-0, 2 goals
18-Aug-73 v IRAN (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W3-0, 1 goal
24-Aug-73 v IRAN (Tehran) FIFA World Cup Qualifier L0-2
28-Ooc-73 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D0-0
10-Nov-73 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Seoul) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D2-2
13-Nov-73 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Hong Kong) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W1-0
06-Feb-74 v Ferencvaros (Adelaide) Friendly L1-2
10-Feb-74 v Ferencvaros (Sydney) Friendly D0-0 (sub)
20-Mar-74 v Auckland XI (Sydney) Friendly D0-0
27-Apr-74 v URUGUAY (Sydney) Friendly W2-0
21-May-74 v INDONESIA (Jakarta) Friendly W2-1 (sub)
28-May-74 v ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) Friendly L1-2 (sub)
04-Jun-74 v St Gallen (Zurich) Friendly W4-1
06-Jun-74 v Young Boys (Berne) Friendly W2-0 (sub), 1 goal
08-Jun-74 v Xamax Neuchatel (Brugge) Friendly W1-0
18-Jun-74 v WEST GERMANY (Hamburg) FIFA World Cup - Group stage L0-3 (sub)
22-Jun-74 v CHILE (Berlin) FIFA World Cup - Group stage D0-0
02-Mar-76 v NEW ZEALAND (Melbourne) Friendly W3-1, 1 goal
16-May-76 v Tottenham (Sydney) Friendly L2-3
19-May-76 v Sunderland (Sydney) Friendly L3-4, 1 goal
25-May-76 v Sunderland (Melbourne) Friendly D0-0
02-Jun-76 v Hearts (Sydney) Friendly W2-1, 1 goal
09-Jun-76 v Bologna (Adelaide) Friendly W3-0 (sub)
30-Jun-76 v Italian Army (Sydney) Friendly L1-3
18-Aug-76 v HONG KONG (Gosford) Friendly W2-0, 1 goal
20-Oct-76 v INDONESIA (Jakarta) World tour D1-1, 1 goal
22-Oct-76 v SINGAPORE (Singapore) World tour W1-0 (sub)
24-Oct-76 v HONG KONG (Hong Kong) World tour W2-0, 1 goal
27-Oct-76 v China Select (Beijing) World tour W5-4, 2 goals
29-Oct-76 v CHINA (Guangzhou) World tour W2-0
03-Nov-76 v ISRAEL (Tel Aviv) World tour D1-1
09-Nov-76 v PSV Eindhoven (Eindhoven) World tour L1-2
15-Nov-76 v Sunderland (Sunderland) World tour L0-2
16-Nov-76 v Birmingham City (Birmingham) World tour L1-4 (sub), 1 goal
30-Jan-77 v Red Star Belgrade (Sydney) Friendly L1-3, 1 goal
02-Feb-77 v Red Star Belgrade (Sydney) Friendly L1-3
05-Feb-77 v Red Star Belgrade (Melbourne) Friendly L1-3
12-Feb-77 v ISRAEL (Melbourne) Friendly D1-1
16-Feb-77 v ISRAEL (Sydney) Friendly D1-1
13-Mar-77 v CHINESE TAIPEI (Ba) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W3-0, 1 goal
16-Mar-77 v CHINESE TAIPEI (Ba) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W2-1, 1 goal
27-Mar-77 v NEW ZEALAND (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W3-1
30-Mar-77 v NEW ZEALAND (Auckland) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D1-1
05-Jun-77 v Middlesbrough (Sydney) Friendly L0-5
26-Jul-77 v Celtic (Sydney) World of Soccer L2-3
27-Aug-77 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W2-1 (sub)
16-Oct-77 v KUWAIT (Sydney) FIFA World Cup Qualifier L1-2 (sub)
23-Oct-77 v KOREA REPUBLIC (Seoul) FIFA World Cup Qualifier D0-0
30-Oct-77 v HONG KONG (Hong Kong) FIFA World Cup Qualifier W5-2, 1 goal
13-Nov-77 v SINGAPORE (Singapore) Friendly W2-0, 1 goal
19-Nov-77 v KUWAIT (Kuwait City) FIFA World Cup Qualifier L0-1
25-Nov-77 v IRAN (Tehran) FIFA World Cup Qualifier L0-1
Opponents in capitals denote A international games
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