Australia’s Docceroos – a national squad of medical practitioners - have finished fourth at the World Medical Football Championships after going down 1-0 to Hungary in the bronze medal play-off over the weekend.
The tournament, which was staged in Barcelona, saw 22 nations compete and ran alongside the annual International Symposium of Medicine in Health and Sport.
It is the best ever finish for the Docceroos since their formation back in 2003.
The squad claimed convincing wins over Canada and the USA in the group stage, with a draw against Uzbekistan proving to be enough to earn a spot in the knockout phase.
The quarter-final was undoubtedly the team’s highlight with the Docceroos coming from two goals down against Colombia to equalise with the last kick of the match.
Robert Tewksbury was the hero for the Aussies, with his low drive from the edge of the box leveling the score, before the squad prevailed 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out sparking euphoric celebrations.
Docceroos co-captains Dr Andrew Phillips and Dr Miguel Taliana
The Docceroos went down to eventual champions Czech Republic in the semi-finals, with coach Ian Greener proud of his side's progression on the world stage.
“The team had a terrific tournament and to make the semi-finals in a year with the most teams competing was a great achievement,” he said.
“The team has improved enormously in the last three years, going from 11th to ninth and now fourth in successive years.
“We are certainly heading in the right direction with the challenge now to continue to improve and become a regular in the finals of the tournament each year.
“The guys deserve their success and best finish due to their enthusiasm, work ethic and ability to apply the relevant game plan during each of our matches.”
The squad are now on their way home, where players will swap change rooms for waiting rooms, with plans already under way for another tilt at next year’s championships in Austria.