By Ross Stapleton

If the soccer gods do finally smile down on Telstra
Stadium tonight and give their blessing to Australia’s World Cup finals
qualification, Football Federation Australia can kiss
goodbye to one of its few wish list initiatives that’s so far failed to gain any
traction – at some future point, ridding the national team of its Socceroos
moniker.

Since the FFA decided we should fall in line with the
rest of the world, insisting the world game be known as football rather than
soccer in Australia, the team’s adopted
nickname is seen as undermining this sea change.

Other purists hate the name, not
only because it continues to perpetuate “soccer” as part of our lexicon, but
also because it represents some sort of cultural cringe. What a load of old
bollocks!

In local media coverage, the Socceroos name rolled off Uruguayan
players’ tongues, underlining the enormity of the task that confronts
the federation if it sticks to its guns. And last night, watching both
BBC World, and CNN providing coverage of tonight’s momentous match, I
was again taken by how they also readily adopt the Socceroos’ trademark
nickname.

How many
soccer-related football nations can claim such ease with the media happily
substituting the “brand” for the country of origin? There are many countries that would kill for
such readily identifiable branding of their national team on the world
stage. So if the FFA were to
abandon the Socceroos name merely to underline its commitment to be all things
football, they’re messing with unique national
iconography.

And tonight hopefully a bold and exciting new chapter
can be written into the exasperating and always volatile history of our national
team. The whole country – or at the very least, every Australian sports fan who has
ever kicked any kind of football – is now willing the Socceroos to end 31 years
of qualifying misery.

Should we contrive to win through to Germany,
Australian soccer/football is going to experience some remarkable dividends
across the board for what is currently our fourth-rated domestic football code.

So go you Socceroos – stride proudly onto the biggest stage in football next year, with the
nation galvanised behind you and the FFA and host broadcaster SBS
laughing all the way to the bank.