While there have been plenty of Socceroos born overseas, there have been a few who have represented other nations despite being born in Australia.

Football Federation Australia – like every federation – has had to go into battle several times to secure the loyalty of players eligible to represent multiple countries.

FFA succeeded in securing Mark Viduka and more recently Mary Fowler – but there have been those who have slipped through Australia’s fingers.

 

Christian Vieri

Beginning his football journey at Marconi in Sydney – Vieri would go on to become one of Italy’s greatest strikers.

One can only imagine how the Socceroos would have looked with Vieri partnering with Aurelio Vidmar, Ned Zelic, Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell.

Despite being offered to represent Australia, he ruled out playing in underage tournaments as it could disqualify him from playing in the Italian domestic competition.

In 49 appearances, he scored 23 goals and was the runner-up in the 1998 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot.

Throughout his international career he scored nine world cup goals before retiring in 2005 – a year before Italy would meet Australia in the World Cup.

Migrating to Australia at just four years old, Christian stayed in the country until his mid-teens after his father Roberto – who also played for Juventus – was brought down to coach Marconi.

After an impressive showing at the World Cup in France, he signed at Lazio for a fee of 25 million before making his way over to Inter the following season for a then world record transfer fee of €49 million. At Inter he made 149 appearances, where he was partnered with the ever-dangerous Ronaldo and scored 24 goals in season 2001-02 under Hector Cuper.

Josip Simunic

While he may now be remembered for his three yellow cards in Croatia’s draw against Australia in their 2006 Group Stage match – Šimunić is another who was eligible to play for Australia.

Born in Canberra, Šimunić was a graduate of the Australian Institute of Sport and started his career at Melbourne Knights in the National Soccer League alongside Mark Viduka.

This would add plenty of intrigue and subplots to Australia’s match against Croatia in the World Cup – with Croatia believed to have tried to lure Viduka to represent them instead of Australia. Adding to this was plenty of back-and-forth in the media between Šimunić and the Socceroos players in the build up to the match.

Born to Croatian parents– Šimunić chose to represent Croatia whom he represented in five major tournaments and now coaches the nation’s Under-19s squad.

He made over 200 appearances for Hertha Berlin in Germany and represented Croatia 105 times.

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Georgios Samaras

This one isn’t mentioned as much as Vieri or Šimunić but there was a time when Greece’s Georgios Samaras could have represented Australia.

His ties to Australia are not as close as Vieri or Simunic, but was still eligible given his father was born in Melbourne and grandfather – also named Georgios – helped establish the powerhouse which is South Melbourne FC.

While it is believed the Greek international considered playing for Australia he was never approached by Football Federation Australia and instead represented his birth nation Greece.

Samaras went on to become an icon in the Greek national team – appearing at two World Cups and playing most of his club football at Celtic – alongside Scott McDonald – and Manchester City.

Daniel Georgievski

Despite spending a large part of his career in the A-League Georgievski, like Samaras, was never offered a call-up to the national team and jumped at the opportunity to represent Macedonia when they came calling.

The full-back admitted to harbouring ambitions to represent Australia when asked before a friendly between the Socceroos and Macedonia in 2015 – but was never called upon by the FFA.

He was born in Blacktown, Sydney and was eligible to play for Macedonia due to it being the birth country of his parents where he’s made 22 appearances.

While he may not don the green and gold he is adored by many Australians for the contribution he has made at his various clubs in the A-League.

Iain Ramsay

Eligible to play for Australia, Scotland and the Philippines – Ramsay represented the latter after being called up in 2015 for a set of World Cup qualifiers against Bahrain and Yemen.

The 31-year-old still represents the national team, having scored four goals in 29 appearances.

He was born in Perth and burst onto the scene at Adelaide United where he became a first team regular, making 78 appearances before spending two seasons at Melbourne City.

The Filipino international was recently signed by Sukhothai in Thailand.

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athossirianos
athos.sirianos@gmail.com
First year Journalism student at RMIT University. Looking to get the truth out while having a bit of fun.