The emotion came pouring out after Australia’s World Cup campaign came to a heartbreaking end on Sunday against Argentina.
After looking down and out, the Socceroos fought back valiantly in the final 15 minutes to almost force the contest into extra time.
Aziz Behich sliced the Argentinian defence apart and his run into the box was only halted on the very last line.
In the dying seconds of the fight teenager Garang Kuol had the best chance of all to level the scores up after the ball made it’s way to him at the back post.
Kuol turned and sent a shot towards goal but a masterful save from Emiliano Martínez kept the Aussies at bay and saw Argentina advance.
The 2022 Socceroos made history by recording two wins at the World Cup, their most wins in a campaign.
After the game the emotion of defeat came pouring out as Jackson Irvine fought back tears during a post-game interview.
“Yeah, we gave it everything. Just like we have every minute of this competition. So proud of all the players and the staff. Yeah, just not enough on the day,” Irvine said on SBS.
“I think we did everything we could. We stood up to be compact and disciplined in our shape. We were excellent defensively we gave up very little until obviously the end. You have to have a go with the last 15 minutes.
“I think we did everything we could to give ourselves a chance in the game. When Argentina are celebrating like this I think it shows what kind of opposition we gave them today.
It was when Irvine was asked how he felt being apart of the squad that is reshaping football on the map in Australia that it all became too much.
“It’s difficult to comprehend everything at the moment. It’s all quite raw,” Irvine said as he fought back tears. “But yeah, I hope we made everyone proud.”
Irvine put his head in his hands as he walked away from the microphone.
Fans watching Irvine fight back tears before ultimately walking away from the interview as the emotion boiled over were left heartbroken by the scenes.
Lionel Messi’s men will march on to a quarterfinal against the Netherlands after the Dutch easily dispatched of the USA in the early game.
A pair of costly errors from defender Aziz Behich and goalkeeper Mat Ryan were the decisive moments that put Graham Arnold’s underdogs behind by two goals.
Craig Goodwin gave Australia life with a deflected goal in the 76th minute — but late chances to Behich and Garang Kuol were denied by life-or-death defending by Argentina.
And as close as those opportunities were, Argentina had their own at the other end too in a match they finished with 61 per cent of possession.
The frustrating result ends a thrilling tournament for a Socceroos side that was expected to be roadkill in Qatar.
Arnold’s side created history by winning two games — against Tunisia and Denmark — but will head home feeling it could have gone even further.
“The first goal from Messi was just a quality goal,” Arnold said. “But the mistake (on the second) cost us.”
Story Credit: news.com.au