Socceroos, Matildas ready for blockbuster England friendlies

It gives Arnold’s men another chance to prove their credibility at the highest level after their terrific run to the World Cup Round of 16 in Qatar, where Gareth Southgate’s England were beaten by France in the quarter-finals.

No Australian national team has played on the sacred turf of Wembley. The famous victory over England in 2003 was played at Upton Park, the former home of West Ham United, while their last meeting in 2018 was at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

Never before has an Australian team played at Wembley.

Never before has an Australian team played at Wembley.Credit:AP

It’s part of Football Australia’s concerted effort to put the Socceroos in contact with as many top teams as possible in the next World Cup cycle – just as the Matildas did during Gustavsson’s tenure, with the benefits now showing.

“Over the past two years, Football Australia has focused on creating the right environment for the national team to thrive,” said Johnson.

“This means replicating tournament football, playing higher tier opponents more regularly to ensure the best preparation and our teams peak at tournament time.


“Australian football is slowly re-establishing itself in English and European football which is gratifying to see. The fact that we were able to win this doubles game against England at a time when they are two of the best teams in world football is a testament to the appeal of our national teams.”

Arnold was assistant coach to then Socceroos boss Frank Farina in the team’s 2003 win over England, their only win in seven international matches.

“This night brings back some amazing memories for Australian football and football fans,” said Arnold.


“While we had a very talented Australian team we were up against an English team full of superstars and the result really made the players believe they could take on anyone and qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. It’s a memory boys will never forget.

“As an Australian footballer and coach, playing against England at Wembley is something every footballer dreams of. Not just for the occasion, but for the opportunity to go head-to-head with one of the most respected footballing nations in the world.

“We showed at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar that we can compete with the best and by playing against the best more regularly it will help us prepare for the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and hosting the AFC Asia Pokal only strengthen Qatar in early 2024.”

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Ryan Sederquist

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