A sensational eleventh hour ruling by FIFA has seen Australia’s Socceroos qualify for the round of 16 at the 2014 Brasilian World Cup.

Despite initially finishing on the bottom of Group B, behind Holland’s ‘The Netherlands,’ Chile and 2010 champions Spain, Australia have progressed to the round of 16 due to a little known FIFA rule known as the ‘Foster clause.’

The ‘Foster clause’ named for the former Australian midfielder and now SBS commentator Craig Foster, states that should it be proven that a team ‘should have’ and ‘could have’ won their first round games, they can progress. In an emergency meeting convened overnight in Sao Paulo, FIFA officials reviewed the evidence and declared that Australia qualified for this clause and as such, leapfrog Spain and Chile to move into second place in Group B.

SBS commentator and former Socceroo Craig Foster
SBS commentator and former Socceroo Craig Foster

A statement released by FIFA cited Foster’s comments after the Chile game that, despite their 3 – 1 victory the Chileans were left ‘licking their wounds’ and that if Australia did not give up the first 2 goals and Tim Cahill’s second goal was not called offside, then Australia would have won the game 2 – 1. Following these revelations Australia was retrospectively awarded 3 points and Chile stripped of their points.

In their second match, against Holland’s ‘The Netherlands,’ the original scoreline stood at 3 – 2, however Australia has been retrospectively credited with a draw and one point. On review, FIFA agreed with the comments by Foster that Australia did not ‘deserve’ the 3 – 2 scoreline and a 2 – 2 was more fitting to their effort.

Mile Jedinak celebrates scoring his team's second goal with teammates against Holland's 'The Netherlands.'
Australia celebrating a goal against Holland’s ‘The Netherlands.’

In their final pool game, against reigning champions Spain, FIFA officials again awarded Australia the full 3 points for the game, despite them not scoring a goal in the game. Once again, FIFA cited Foster’s post match comments that Australia ‘deserved’ a goal and that ‘if Australia had their players today [Spain], they would have won the game.’ FIFA credited Australian captain Mile Jedinak with the goal in the revised 1 – 0 victory, which means he surpasses England’s Wayne Rooney in the all time World Cup goal tally.

In the revised Group B standings, Holland’s ‘The Netherlands’ finish on top of the table, with Australia second on ‘goals for,’ Chile move to third and Spain fourth. Australia now goes on play Brasil in the round of 16, however experts are wary of a repeat ruling against the hosts and one of the tournament favourites, nevertheless, Australia have now matched their efforts of 2006, when they reached the round of 16 only to be beaten by those bloody cheating Italians.

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