The first major international competition in which the Australian national team competed was the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne. The 1956 tournament was seen as the start of a commitment by Australian soccer to the Olympics. However, as a result of the breakaway from the Australian Soccer Association, amateur bodies lost their affiliation with State and Australian Olympic authorities. For various reasons, including State governance disputes, Australia would not participate again until 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.
Australia's first game at the Olympics was against Japan at Olympic Park on 27 November, before a crowd of only 3,568. Japan showed more finesse than Australia, but the rugged, hard-hitting Australian defenders slowed the game down, preventing Japan from their intricate style of play.
Graham McMillan netted the first goal for Australia from the penalty spot after Japan's Tadao Kobayashi handled the ball. Frank Loughran had moved from inside-right to the right wing to start the second-half, which proved successful, as he scored to put Australia 2-0 up and that is how it ended.
On 1 December, Australia would play in the quarter-finals against India. There was an argument before the game about whether the Indian team could play barefooted. A discrepancy between FIFA World Cup rules, where boots must be worn, and those for the Olympics, where it was not expressly written, opened up a debate. India agreed to play with boots on the understanding that if anyone suffered cramp it would be in order to remove them and continue play.
Australia's performance was woeful and wild with indiscriminate kicking and a lack of pace. India seized control when Neville D'Souza scored the first goal. The half-time score was locked at 2-2, Newcastle's Bruce Morrow netting a brace. However, it was only a matter of time until India would take the game and knock Australia out.
D'Souza finished with a hat-trick. Krishna Kittu scored the fourth. India went on to qualify for the playoff but lost 3-0 to Bulgaria. The USSR won the tournament, beating Yugoslavia 1-0 in the final.
This design pays tribute to Australia's first Olympic team to contest the world game.
Australia 1956 Olympic Games Melbourne T-shirt
- Unisex, regular fit
- Crew neck
- Mid-weight, 180 GSM
- 100% combed cotton
- Neck ribbing, side seamed, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems, preshrunk to minimise shrinkage
Size S M L XL 2XL 3XL W 47 52 56.5 61 64 68 L 71 75 78.5 82 83.5 85
Body width/length (cm)
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