Where are they now? The 2003 Socceroos who stunned England

Who could forget this famous Upton Park upset? We take a look at the last crop of Aussie footballers to play against England, and what they're doing now.

Lucas Neill, Craig Moore, and Stan Lazaridis of Australia celebrate

Source: Getty Images

In London on 12 February 2003, Australia defeated an England side featuring the likes of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, and Wayne Rooney by 3-1.

Thirteen years on, the new breed of Socceroos under coach Ange Postecoglou are preparing to meet England for the first time since, at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on 27 May 2016.

So where are the inspiring Socceroos heroes from thirteen years ago?

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One was recently declared bankrupt, three of them are coaching in the A-League, and another was in the squads of the past two English Premier League title-winning clubs.

Tony Popovic, who started the game and scored the opening goal, is now, of course, coach of Western Sydney Wanderers. He has steered them to three A-League grand finals in four years.

Tony Popovic tackles Michael Owen


John Aloisi, who was used as substitute, got another chance as an A-League coach with Brisbane Roar last season after his initial stint with then Melbourne Heart (now City) ended with him being sacked late in 2013. He took Roar to the semi-finals.

Kevin Muscat, who also came off the bench, is now manager of Melbourne Victory, with whom he won last year's A-League and is currently through to the round of 16 in the AFC Champions League.

The strangest story is that of former Australia captain Lucas Neill, who, it recently emerged, has been declared bankrupt in Britain after having earned an estimated $40 million during his playing career.

The revelation seemingly explained why Neill had all but disappeared from the radar in football circles during the past 12 months.

Ex-Socceroo and goalkeeping great Mark Schwarzer was Chelsea's reserve keeper when they won the Premier League last season and, more recently, was on the bench for Leicester City in their fairytale run that clinched this season's title.

He didn't qualify for a winner's medal either time because he didn't play the required minimum of five league games (in fact, he didn't register a single league minute in the past two seasons) but Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had a medal specially struck for him.

Harry Kewell, who was voted the greatest-ever Socceroo, is finishing his first season in charge of EPL club Watford's under-21 side.

David Beckham attempts to catch Harry Kewell


He also runs the Harry Kewell Academy in Australia and splits his time between the UK and here.

Kewell has been in Australia during the past week and said he had "loved" his debut year at Watford, with a record of 6 wins, 7 draws, 18 losses in 31 games.

"Coaching’s not easy. You have ideas in your head and it’s about projecting them and making people understand them," Kewell said.

"Some boys didn’t understand me and that was a lesson for me. It has made me a better coach because I had to look at myself and make sure I covered all areas, showing diagrams and video clips rather than just turning up for training. There’s a lot more work involved.

“It hurts to lose, but I’m definitely a better coach than I was at the start of the season."

Craig Moore is working alongside Aloisi as Brisbane Roar's football operations manager.

Tony Vidmar is in charge of Australia under-17 national team, the Joeys. He is based at the FFA's Centre of Excellence, in Canberra.

Sydney-based Paul Okon coaches Australia's under-20 side, the Young Socceroos.

Brett Emerton, who finished his career with Sydney FC, has remained in Sydney and is an ambassador for FFA's Play Football program and also for ANZ Stadium.

Stan Lazaridis is back living in his home city of Perth, where he writes a newspaper column on football and is also an occasional commentator on games for ABC radio.

The very private Mark Viduka lives in Melbourne with his wife, Ivana, and their three sons and he remains a fervent supporter of the team he played for as a youth, Melbourne Knights.



Five years ago, in one of his rare interviews, Viduka said: "I have this complex. I don't like too much exposure. I don't know why it is. Maybe it's bred in me, because my dad always told me to be humble and don't think you're too good.

"Maybe he drummed it into me too much. It's good to be humble, but it's also a good thing to be proud of your achievements. I am proud, but it's funny, because you're disappointed with your non-achievements as well. I would have loved to have been a different character.

"I had plenty of offers to do sponsorships and TV commercials, but it's just not in me. I would love to get that out of me, but I just don't feel comfortable with it."

Vince Grella is now a player agent, based in Italy, and among his clients is Newcastle Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti. Coming off a tremendous season in a battling side, Birighitti has his heart set on trying his luck for a second time in Europe and Grella is working on facilitating that.

Scott Chipperfield has moved into the area of specialised coaching for children, having established his own academy in Basel, Switzerland, where he played. Chipperfield also describes himself as a "player advisor".

Mile Sterjovski also has his own academy, Mile Sterjovski Football Coaching, based in the north-west of Sydney. The academy's website profile of the former Socceroo tells how, as a child, he dreamt of one day playing in big games.

Mark Bresciano is understood to be spending most of his time in Australia now. He was recently a guest at the Dolan/Warren awards night in Sydney.

Josip Skoko is back home at Geelong, where he played for North Geelong Warriors as a youth. In a recent interview with The World Game he said he was coaching kids at his old club and also helping out as football operations manager.

Josip Skoko tackles Michael Owen


"Once a footballer, always a footballer," Skoko said. "I’m also a coffee distributor in Australia for Austrian brand Julius Meinl, which I came across via a few coffee shops I set up in Croatia."

Finally, Frank Farina, who coached the Socceroos against England that day, was last seen in the A-League as coach of Sydney FC, and is now technical director for Fiji Football Association and coach of Fiji's under-23 team for this year's Olympic Games.

Farina has just been on a tour of South America with the team, which played several matches in preparation for Rio de Janeiro.


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6 min read
Published 13 May 2016 at 12:30pm
By Greg Prichard