PM gives hint on public holiday after Socceroos’ momentous World Cup victory
Jubilant Socceroos fans in Melbourne's Federation Square. Photo: AAP
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has responded to growing calls for a public holiday after Australia’s momentous win against Denmark in the World Cup.
The Socceroos earlier put their support behind a national day off after their victory saw Australians roaring with jubilation in the wee hours before dawn on Thursday.
Coach Graham Arnold lended his voice after the history-making match and his suggestion has been gaining momentum.
“Do I need to ask Anthony Albanese again to give the people a day off to celebrate,” Arnold said in a post-match interview.
“I think there will be some hangovers.”
The Socceroos’ official Twitter page prompted Anthony Albanese with “Public holiday??” after thanking the PM for his tweet of congratulations.
The team will progress to the knockout stage of the World Cup on Sunday for the first time since Australia’s “golden era” in 2006.
It’s also the first time Australia has won two games at a World Cup.
Bleary-eyed fans who woke before 2am in Australia to watch the game say the win is so significant the nation should be given a day off to celebrate.
“Can we have a day off boss,” asked one fan in response to Anthony Albanese on Twitter.
“Public holiday, surely?” wrote another and “Day off tomorrow? It’s coming surely.”
Mr Albanese responded on Twitter late Thursday.
“Too late to call a national holiday after the @Socceroos
huge win against Denmark last night,” he wrote.
“But if we win the #FIFAWorldCup… that might be a different story.”
Earlier on Thursday ACTU boss Sally McManus told ABC’s Patricia Karvelas: “Absolutely there should be a public holiday today.”
Ms McManus channelled former Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s famous reaction to Australia’s America Cup win in 1983 by adding: “Any boss would be a mug if they sacked anyone for turning up a little bit late today given that a lot of us had to wake up very early.”
Meanwhile NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is promising a live outdoor venue to rival Melbourne after Sydney fans had no public place to watch the game.
Thousands of Socceroos fans packed Melbourne’s Federation Square but Sydney had no live viewing space. Photo: AAP
While there were triumphant scenes at Melbourne’s Federation Square where thousands of joyous fans soaked up the rare sporting achievement, Sydneysiders were confined to pubs.
Mr Perrottet said Sydney would better Melbourne’s viewing space.
“We’re going to have a great live site. It’s going to be the best in the country,” he said on Thursday.
“We’re going to have a great announcement very shortly. It’s going to be awesome.
“I want everyone in the city and across the state to come out and enjoy the game.”
Australia’s next game will be against one of the most formidable teams in the world — Lionel Messi’s Argentina.
Argentina advanced to the knockouts with a 2-0 victory over Poland, despite a first-half penalty miss from skipper Messi.
Argentina’s win propelled the side to the top of the group, meaning they will face Group D runners-up the Socceroos in the next round.
Second-placed Poland take on reigning champions France.
New ‘golden generation’
Mathew Leckie after scoring Australia’s only goal against Denmark. Photo: Getty
Socceroos players hope their triumphant feats at the World Cup in Qatar inspire the next generation, just as the fabled 2006 team did for them.
Coach Graham Arnold believes his motley mob of Socceroos are the new golden generation.
Under Arnold, Australia have won two games at a World Cup for the first time — the 2006 team advanced to the round of 16 with a win and a draw.
And Arnold has overseen two clean sheets in a row, another first for Australia at a World Cup.
“Maybe we’re talking about a new golden generation now,” he said.
“Because we have been listening and hearing about the golden generation of 2006 who got four points — and now we have got six.
“Maybe, again, we’re talking about a new generation.”
Arnold was nearly sacked in March by Football Australia as the Socceroos’ qualification campaign stuttered.
But he was backed, with his contract due to expire when Australia’s Qatar campaign ends.
The Socceroos have bettered the ‘golden era’ of 2006. Photo: Getty
The Socceroos have been on a mission in Doha not just to win football games but the hearts of minds of Australians.
“We sit on the backburner with a lot of codes in our country,” striker Jamie Maclaren said.
“So to sit here now and do what only one other Socceroos team has done before is massive.”