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Leckie lives the Australian spirit

It’s unlikely that Lionel Messi and his Argentina players will be shown footage of old games against FSV Frankfurt or FC Ingolstadt as they prepare for the Round of 16 at the World Cup.

Argentinians should keep a special eye on Mathieu Leckie, who played for many years in Germany, ahead of the clash with outright foreigners Australia.

The 31-year-old is the attacking star of the Socceroos, causing a sensation in Qatar and ecstasy at home. Without big names, but with great team spirit. And with Leckie: Pioneer and nurse in private union.

The best technician in the team

“My number one fan,” Leckie jokes of teammate Martin Boyle as he pushes him in a wheelchair. Nothing better illustrates the spirit of the Socceroos than this short video they tweeted. Lecky and Boy share accommodation during the tournament. Boyle recently revealed that when he wakes up in the morning, Leckie turns on the light and brings him coffee. The striker of Scottish club Hibernian FC said he would also help him in the shower if needed. Boyle dropped out of the squad just before the start of the World Cup with a serious knee injury – and he’s still an integral part of the squad.

The 29-year-old underwent surgery in Qatar and has been following his colleagues’ crutch games live in the stadium. On Wednesday, Leckie’s first World Cup goal helped Australia beat Denmark 1-0 and reach their 16th World Cup since 2006. Leckie later said that everything he achieved that day was what he had dreamed of as a boy. He insisted that I worked hard for it.

Apart from Frankfurt and Ingolstadt, the attacking man has also played for Borussia Monchengladbach and Hertha BSC in Germany and is now active for Melbourne City. Leckie is the best technician in a group of passionate Australians. He is the leader and driver, working tirelessly on the wing – and in the back.

The nation is rooting for it

“He’s a very important member of our team, such an animal, such a beast,” says captain Matthew Ryan. Danish champions FC Copenhagen’s goalkeeper is another key figure for the team Down Under. The likes of Jackson Irvine from FC St Pauly or Harry Souter from Stoke City. The central midfielder and the 1.98-metre-tall defender are both in the Australians’ second division with their clubs – now for a historic win against Argentina. Because the Socceroos have never been to the quarter-finals of a World Cup.

“We’re riding a wave,” says keeper Ryan. It has long since spread to the homeland. At midnight, thousands of fans gathered at Federation Square, a large square in Melbourne, to celebrate the victory over Denmark. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has promised extra public holidays if he wins the World Cup. Whether you mean it seriously or not, one thing’s for sure: the nation is rooting for it.

The Socceroos have already scored a goal in this match. Coach Graham Arnold’s team has set itself the goal of promoting football locally and sparking new enthusiasm. “Now he wants to be an inspiration to kids,” says Leckie. If they win against Messi and co., the former Bundesliga professional and his peers will also go down in history.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:221201-99-736575/4