Young Socceroos History

For any young player with talent, playing for Australia-s national youth teams, the Qantas Young Socceroos (Under 20-s) and Qantas Joeys (Under 17-s) should be a major target. Playing for these teams is where the majority of Australia-s current Qantas Socceroos first displayed their enormous talent and gave them a taste of playing on the world stage through the FIFA World Championships of their respective age groups.

Team Profile (2011)

The current crop of Qantas Young Socceroos qualified for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Colombia 2011 after defeating UAE in the quarter finals of the 2010 U-19 AFC Championship in China. The squad went on to defeat Saudi Arabia in the semi finals before narrowly going down to Korea DPR 3-2 in the finals of the competition.

Sixteen members of the current squad were part of the 2010 U-19 AFC Championship whilst a further five of those members, Tommy Oar, Kofi Danning, Ben Kantarovski, Rhyan Grant and Sam Gallagher, were also part of the Australian squad that competed at the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009.

Fifteen players have been drawn from the ranks of the Hyundai A-League, with five from overseas clubs and former Sunderland striker Matthew Fletcher, currently uncontracted.

The team is coached by Jan Versleijen, who was also the head coach of the Qantas Joeys in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011.

Ben Kantarovski will captain the team of exciting young players with the likes of Mustafa Amini, Matthew Fletcher, Marc Warren, Kofi Danning and Tommy Oar.

Following his impressive performances in the Hyundai A-League last season, Amini was picked up by Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund in the off-season although he will spend one more season with the Mariners before moving to the Westfalenstadion. Kerem Bulut, Tommy Oar, Marc Warren and Nick Feely complete the overseas based players in the squad.


Is an age group in which Australia has performed well in since the competition commenced in 1977, reaching the semi finals twice (Portugal 1991 and Australia 1993) and the quarter finals twice (Australia 1981 and Qatar 1995).

Of the 17 tournaments held, Australia has played in 13. The only tournaments Australia failed to qualify for were in 1979, 1989 and 2007 and we did not even attempt to qualify for the first tournament in 1977.

Australia has also hosted the FIFA World Youth Championships in 1981 and 1993 and on both occasions performed well, losing in the knockout phases to the eventual champions of the tournament.

The first attempt to qualify for the World Youth Cup as it was then, came in 1979. Australia, which featured the likes of Eddie Krncevic, Alan Davidson, Peter Raskopoulos and Graham Jennings, won their Oceania qualification and then faced Israel and Paraguay for the last remaining qualifying spot. Paraguay, with the home ground advantage proved too strong, with Australia losing both its games, but drawing both its matches against Israel.

With the next tournament to held in Australia, we qualified automatically. Not expected to pose too much of threat, Australia caused a major upset in its opening game by beating Argentina 2-1 with late goals by Mark Koussas and Ian Hunter. Draws against Cameroon and England, saw Australia finish 2nd in its group and face a daunting match against West Germany, who were pre-tournament favourites. West Germany was given a hard time by the underdog Australian side, but eventually won the quarter final 1-0 and went onto win the tournament.

This started a succession of appearances by our Under 20 team at FIFA World Youth Cup. However repeating our feats of 1981 was proving difficult and the next three appearances saw us finish 3rd in our group and fail to progress to the quarters.

1989 saw Australia once again face an Intercontinental play-off, matched with New Zealand, Qatar and Syria. Needing to win its final game against Syria to advance to the World Cup, the team lost 1-0 and bowed out of the competition. This proved the last time we failed to progress to the finals.

1991 and 1993 proved to be our golden era at this level, reaching the semi finals and beaten by the eventual winners on each occasion.

The 1991 squad was seen as the most talented to leave the shores at this level, with most of the squad firmly established in first grade at their National League clubs. They proved as much at the World Championships in Portugal and in the years to follow, with most going on to represent the senior national team.

In their group they won all three group games, beating group favourites Russia in the process. They escaped through on penalties against Syria in the quarters to set up a semi final against Portugal. In front of 120,000 screaming Portuguese fans, Australia put a brave performance to down 1-0 to what was one of the goals of the tournament. Australia lost the 3rd/4th play-off to Russia in a penalty shoot-out.

With the tournament held in Australia for the second time in 1993, big things were expected of the team and they didn-t disappoint. In a tough group, Australia won its opening two matches against Colombia and Russia to ensure qualification for the next stage.

In the quarter finals, Australia came up against Uruguay and in a gripping match that went to extra time, Anthony Carbone scored the decisive goal to win 2-1 and set up a semi final with perennial giant Brazil. The South Americans proved too good to win 2-0 and in the 3rd/4th play-off, we again had to settle for fourth, beaten 2-1 by England.

Since then the results have no lived up to expectations, with teams regularly getting past the group phase with some outstanding performances, but losing in the next round to teams that generally they should be beating. Twice in the group matches, we have beaten the eventual winners of the tournament, which gives some indication that we are not far away in terms of mixing with the best young players from around the world.

2005 in The Netherlands was disappointing in that the team was just minutes away from going through to the second round, but conceded a late goal that consigned them to bottom place of their group on goal difference.

Australia were back in the frame for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Egypt 2009 after failing to qualify for the 2007 edition. Australia finished at the bottom of Group E after losing to Brazil, Costa Rica and Czech Republic. Brazil were the eventual runners up in the competition while Costa Rica finished fourth.

FIFA Youth Championships Overall record

13 appearances - 50 matches - 16 wins - 13 draws - 21 losses

1977 - Did not participate 1979 - Did not qualify 1981 - Australia - 2nd in group - lost quarter final against West Germany (eventual winners) 1983 - Mexico - 3rd in group - Did not progress 1985 - Soviet Union - 3rd in group - Did not progress 1987 - Chile - 3rd in group - Did not progress 1989 - Did not qualify 1991 - Portugal - 1st in group - won quarter-final - lost semi final against Portugal (eventual winners) 1993 - Australia - 2nd in group - won quarter final - lost semi final against Brazil (eventual winners) 1995 - Qatar - 2nd in group - lost quarter final against Portugal 1997 - Malaysia - 1st in group (beat eventual winners Argentina) - lost 2nd Round game against Japan 1999 - Nigeria - 3rd in group - Did not progress 2001 - Argentina - 3rd in group - lost 2nd Round game against Brazil. 2003 - UAE - 1st in group (beat eventual winners Brazil) - lost 2nd Round game against UAE 2005 - Netherlands - 4th in group (= 2nd / 4th on goal difference) - Did not progress 2007 - Did not not qualify 2009 - Egypt - 4th in group - Did not progress 2011 - Colombia - 4th in group - Did not progress