The last time Australia qualified for the Round of 16 was in 2006 after they achieved a needed draw against Croatia in the group stage.
Melbourne’s Federation Square was packed with fans who had turned out to watch the match on the big screen, while others had been cheering on Australia’s national football team at pubs.
It was a feeling shared by the Socceroos. In a response to a congratulatory tweet by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who labelled the win “magnificent”, the team replied: “Thank you @AlboMP!! Public holiday?”, along with a winking face emoji.
“I could see in their eyes that they were ready for tonight,” he said.
Socceroos fans celebrate Australias win over Denmark at Federation Square in Melbourne on 1 December 2022. Source: AAP / Con Chronis
Sports Minister Anika Wells labelled the win “iconic”.
Australian diplomats at the Australian embassy in Washington DC were also watching the match.
“It happened so fast. As the ball was going in, I was so excited,” he said.
Mathew Leckie (left) of Australia celebrates with Riley Mcgree after scoring the 1-0 during the FIFA World Cup 2022 group D soccer match between Australia and Denmark at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, 30 November 2022. Source: EPA / Rolex dela Pena/EPA
“By the celebration, you can see how much emotion was involved.”
France were the only team that had secured a spot in the Round of 16 ahead of Thursday’s match, meaning Australia, Tunisia and Denmark were all competing to go through.