Best Australian Never to Play at a World Cup?

Craig Johnston

Liverpool great Craig Johnston never played at a World Cup

When the squad is finally announced, the Australian team will unarguably contain some of the greatest players to come from these shore. Names like Kewell, Viduka, Bresciano and Aloisi will join that of Johnny Warren in Australian Football history.

However, considering the 32 year gap between Australia’s two appearances at the World Cup, there would have been a few great players that never got to represent the green and gold on the ultimate of football stages.

Here are just a few that come to mind:

  • Eddie Krncevic – By far, the most successful Australian football export of the 1980’s. His success in Europe inspired today’s big names.
  • Craig Johnston – The first Australian to make it big in England. Despite being eligable to play for Australia, South Africa and England at the time he never made it to a World Cup (Australia didn’t qualify, South Africa were under a sporting ban and England picked him for a squad in 1988, but he didn’t play never got an international cap).
  • Ned Zelic – The stand out player for Australia in the early 1990’s. “Australia’s prodigal son”“cultured playmaker”. One wonders what could have been in 2002 had he and Frank Farina not had a falling out. That said, perhaps his inclusion in this list a fraction premature with some sectors of the Australian footballing fraternity calling for Ned’s inclusion in the squad for Germany, but I’d be willing to bet that closest Ned will get to the action will be sitting in the stands or watching it on TV… a shame really.

The list could go on, and on… David Mitchell, Milan Ivanovic, Alex Tobin, Mark Bosnich, etc, etc…

Who do you think is Australia’s best player never to play at a World Cup?

[Originally posted on and recovered from waybackmachine and reposted here with spelling and grammar corrections on 03 August 2023]