With 52,000 fans watching on in Stuttgart and millions on TV sets at home, a cool-headed Harry Kewell latched onto a deep cross before swiping it into the net to send the Socceroos into the knock-out stage of a World Cup for the first time.
This moment of brilliance against Croatia in 2006 was just one of many signature Kewell moments throughout a long and acclaimed career which gained him the reputation of Australia’s greatest ever international footballer.
Going on to inspire countless Australians to play the beautiful game, Kewell’s career will be formally recognised with his induction as an Athlete Member into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Thursday 11th October 2018.
Kewell will become the first footballer inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 22 years, joining Peter Wilson, Ray Baartz, John Warren, Joe Marston and Alfred Quill.
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"To be accepted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame is an honour," Kewell said.
“As a footballer, sometimes we are recognised with team awards because it’s a team sport, but if you get the opportunity to receive an award as an individual it’s something really special to me because it’s not just looking at one result, it’s looking at the whole picture, a whole season or your whole career – It’s something special.”
With today marking Kewell’s 40th birthday, his memories of the Socceroos’ run in Germany and that 2-2 draw against one of the world’s best outfits bring about a proud flashback.
“It was a great moment in Australian football history,” Kewell reminisced.
“Every kid dreams of playing in a World Cup, and for me to be able just to do that first and foremost was huge. To be able to start in a game where we were confident and we felt good enough to win, and to be able to score that goal to put us through to the next round, was one of my proudest moments.”
Driven, decisive and blessed with one of the greatest left foot strikes we may ever see, Kewell featured in Liverpool’s 2005 Champions League victory, the 2006 FA Cup triumph and played a big part in legitimising Australia’s reputation in the football world.
After a glittering playing career which seen him play for Leeds, Liverpool, Galatasaray, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart, Kewell tried his hand at things inside the technical area.
Following a coaching spell with Watford’s under 21 side, Kewell managed English League Two side Crawley Town in 2017, becoming the first Australian to coach a professional English side. In August 2018 Kewell was appointed manager of Crawley’s League Two rivals Notts County, a role he says he is thriving in.
“I love it,” Kewell said.
“It’s the thinking side of it that has really attracted me. I can’t do much during the 90 minutes, but to be able to force an idea into your team, to make them believe it and make them fulfil it on the weekend gives me a lot of joy.”
In less than three weeks’ time, Kewell’s incredible playing career will be celebrated with the highest honour in Australian sport.
“I look back at my career and know I gave everything.”
“I never took any games for granted because I knew I was always just one game away from sitting on the bench. I can safely say that I don’t miss playing now. I gave everything my body had, I pushed it to its limits, and now I sit here now on another journey which I absolutely love.”
“I have no regrets… if I could’ve avoided injury, of course I would’ve, but I feel that my career has put me in great stead of what I love doing now. I can understand injuries, I understand the players and their pain.”
“Maybe that’s the reason I went through it all? So I can help younger players coming through… if so, that’s a good reason.”