Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has today marked the moment Australia qualified for its first football World Cup in 32 years by paying tribute to the players responsible for the historic moment.

PFA Chief Executive Adam Vivian said that night will forever be etched into the minds of Australians.

“John Aloisi’s winning penalty in the shoot-out was an iconic moment for Australian sport,” Vivian said. It capped what had been a truly remarkable performance by the Socceroos, which redefined what football in Australia was capable of and what it could achieve.

“Australian football grew up that night. It started a decade of achievement and growth for the game.

“That game gave us the confidence to become the football nation we are today.

“Beating the world’s best is not only about skill and fitness, it’s about mentality and identity. This one match was a game that re-shaped our identity. For 32 years the World Cup was defined as a disappointment, no longer is this the case.

“Australia is becoming a strong football nation. We can still take the game and our achievements further.

“This team made Australians wake up to football’s beauty. It made us feel the joy and pain of a footballing nation. It gave us a rollercoaster of a World Cup and a hunger to have these feelings again.

“It is impossible to know how many people who watched that game that night are now football players, coaches, fans or spectators – but the game grew from that night in Sydney.

“No one who saw that game will forget the way it made them feel and the desire for more has propelled the game forward.

“We have to keep lifting the bar on football in Australia. This is how we honour and pay tribute to the achievements of those Socceroos of 2005.”