Socceroos saviour Vukovic revels in ‘incredible’ debut

In terms of debuts, it doesn’t get much better than that of Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.

Danny Vukovic

Danny Vukovic made a memorable Socceroos debut saving a penalty and keeping a clean sheet against Colombia Source: Getty Images

Celebrating his 33rd birthday, the KRC Genk shot-stopper marked his first game in an Australia jersey with a penalty save and a clean sheet after coming on at half-time during the Socceroos’ 0-0 draw with Colombia.

Vukovic’s performance was part of a much improved display from Australia as they bounced back from Saturday’s (AEDT) demoralising 4-1 defeat against Norway in Oslo.

It was a debut 12 years in the making for Vukovic.

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After being first named in a national team squad in 2006, the A-League journeyman’s chances of a call-up was all but written off until an incredible 2017 season with Sydney FC earned him a Socceroos recall.



“It was an absolutely incredible night for myself. Being my birthday, my debut and saving that penalty It was just an incredible experience,” Vukovic said.

“I was really disappointed I gave a penalty away but the most important thing was I kept it out and got the clean sheet.

“I had a feeling he was going to shoot to his right so I just trusted my instincts and made the save.”

The incredible circumstances surrounding the Aussie custodian’s debut shouldn’t take away from what was a solid performance between the sticks for Bert van Marwijk’s side.

Vukovic made a number of reaction saves late in the match to deny Colombia as the South American’s pressed hard for a winner, but a rash challenge on Miguel Borja almost undid all his good work as Jose Pekerman’s outfit were awarded a penalty.

“I saw their player was in on goal as I was coming off my line but Milos got a touch on the ball and it diverted.

“I thought I could get out and make the save but their player got to it first.

“I was disappointed I gave away a penalty but I was confident and I’m very happy I was able to make the save.”

Vukovic revealed an unexpected visitor before the match helped build his confidence.

“I was really surprised my family were in the stands because I didn’t think they would be able to come,” he said.

“During the warm-up I noticed them behind the goals which was a nice surprise.



“They had been on holiday in Serbia for a week so I didn’t bother asking them to come.

“It was really great they were here to share this moment with me.

Despite the loss to Norway, Vukovic said there is a good feeling among Australia’s players leading into the FIFA World Cup with the result against Colombia sure to build their confidence.

“It was a tough start for us in camp. We are a work in progress and we know that,” he said.

“We didn’t play the way we would’ve wanted in the first game but I think we have turned it around.

“This game, against world class opposition, gives us a lot of confidence going into the World Cup.

“Now we all go back to our clubs and the challenge is to do the very best that we can to hopefully earn our ticket to Russia.”


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3 min read
Published 28 March 2018 at 1:30pm
By Nick Houghton