Australia's slog of a World Cup qualifying campaign came to a halt on March 24 after a 2-0 defeat to Japan in the driving Sydney rain meant that after the grind of 18 games over two years, the Socceroos would still need to beat the United Arab Emirates and then Peru in the June playoffs to qualify for Qatar.
The defeat to Japan rendered Australia's final third round of qualifying match entirely meaningless — an 8,257 mile trip from Sydney to Jeddah to play Saudi Arabia. It's 8,045 miles from New York to Hong Kong.
To make matters worse for Australia, while they were still licking their wounds from the Japan smarting, the 51,433 spectators at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah were celebrating their automatic qualification to Qatar.
There's really no reason any Australia supporter should've made the trip to Saudi Arabia. But one did.
He still got barricaded in his own section, surrounded by police officers, and got to put up a "Saving Private Ryan" banner in honor of goalkeeper Mathew Ryan and an "Up All Night To Get Leckie" one for forward Mathew Leckie, who didn't even make the trip to Jeddah.
They put him up on the big screen at the stadium and 51,432 people came together to boo his prescence.
50,000 booing you or backing the 'Roos no matter what?Maty and the boys went out of their way to recognise one Aussie who made the long trip to Jeddah! pic.twitter.com/cVgKyg5v18
— Socceroos (@Socceroos) April 7, 2022
"Those are the moments you live for as an away fan."
Saudi Arabia won the match 1-0 with a penalty kick.