STATE team coach Gary Marocchi must have been peering deeply into his crystal ball when he tipped big futures for four WA youngsters a few weeks before they encountered European hot-shots Werder Bremen in an international challenge for the Friendship Cup at the WACA Ground in June, 1992.
Marocchi selected the quartet – Stan Lazaridis, Tony Carbone, Marc Wingell and Scott Miller – in his squad for the visit of the Germans, who had just won the European Cup Winners Cup.
He told The West Australian newspaper that he reckoned the young guns were all good enough to play for Australia at international level. And they justified his faith by sparkling at the WACA – and going on to carve our great careers.
Carbone was just 17 and he went on to dazzle for the Young Socceroos in the following year’s World Youth Cup, in which Australia reached the semi-finals and Carbone made history by becoming the first player to score a Golden Goal at international level.
Lazaridis was 19 and on the cusp of an exciting career with many big clubs tracking his progress before he headed first to the eastern states and then to England to play for West Ham and Birmingham. He is now WA’s record holder of international caps.
Wingell was 19 and had, the previous year, been a member of the Aussie side that had taken part in the under-17 World Cup in Italy. A strong-running and strong-tackling full back, he went on to deliver eye-catching efforts for Australia in the 1993 World Youth Cup.
Although Miller, who had just turned 20, was a sub on the day against Werder Bremen, this exciting left flank flyer was snapped up by Morwell Falcons to play in the NSL. He returned to Perth to join the Glory, making 227 appearances for his home-town club. He was capped twice by the Socceroos – against Colombia and American Samoa in 2001.
Making Marocchi’s prediction all the sweeter was the fact that Carbone and Lazaridis got two of the goals in WA’s stunning 3-2 triumph over Werder Bremen.
Lazaridis opened the scoring when he stretched out those long legs and a determined run took him deep into German territory. He then got a kindly bounce off a defender’s legs and drilled a right-foot shot under the body of Bremen keeper Jurgen Rollman.
The vistors equalised through Manfred Bockenfeld just before half-time – but Carbone had the gutsy West Australians back in front in 53 minutes. Brian Roberts laid on a neatly-judged pass to the youngster and Carbone cheekily chipped the ball over Rollman.
After a succession of fine saves by Willie McNally, there was nothing the home keeper could do to stop Frank Neubarth from heading the equaliser in the 88th minutes.
A draw would have been a worthy outcome against the European champions in a thrilling encounter, but WA were determined to go one better. And the winning strike came in spectacular fashion from 24-year-old Carl McDarby, who darted forward to meet a Lazaridis free kick at Bremen’s near post and sent an explosive flick into the net in the 90th minute.
The goal capped an amazing scoring spell for McDarby, who had a few weeks earlier snared a club record seven goals for Stirling Macedonia in a 10-2 D’Orsogna Cup demolition of Bayswater Inter.
It was the State team’s biggest international scalp on home soil since the 2-1 victory over Glasgow Rangers in 1975.
The WA squad was: Willie McNally (capt), Brian Sweeney, Shaun Murphy, Marc Wingell, Gareth Naven, Craig Naven, Tony Carbone, Brian Roberts, Trim Morgan, Stan Lazaridis, Carl McDarby, Frank Bate, Brian McLatchie, Scott Miller, Lou Collova, Taki Nicolaidis, Jeff Faulkner, Tommy Maras.
Werder Bremen: Jurgen Rollman; Manfred Bockenfeld, Thorsten Legat, Frank Neubarth, Ulrich Borowka, Uwe Hattgen, Dieter Eilts, Miroslav Votava, Marco Bode, Wynton Rufer, Klaus Allofs, Stefan Kohn, Kay Wenschlag, Thomas Schaaf, Jonny Otten, Gunter Hermann, Oliver Reck.
FOOTNOTE: The victory over the Germans was the highlight of a 1992 season in which WA were unbeaten in four games. They also beat Selangor 2-0 (goals from Lou Collova and Paul Strudwick) drew 1-1 with Singapore (goal from Gareth Naven) and drew 0-0 with Irish side Shelbourne.
PIC ONE: WA youngsters Marc Wingell, Stan Lazaridis, Scott Miller, Tony Carbone. PIC TWO: WA players celebrate the win over Werder Bremen. PIC THREE: Carl McDarby and Trim Morgan. PIC FOUR: The Friendship Cup.