The Difference Between Olyroos and Socceroos: Australian Soccer Team

When it comes to Australian soccer, everybody knows the name Socceroos. This is the Australian national football team, and they have held this nickname for as long as we can remember.

Differences between the Olyroos and the Socceroos

However, as you've no doubt gathered from the title here, we wanted to clarify something that football fans sometimes get confused with. And that is the difference between Olyroos and Socceroos when it comes to national football. The answer is actually surprisingly simple, and we’ve even gone into detail surrounding some facts and figures for these teams.

difference between olyroos and socceroos

So, what exactly is the difference before we go any further? Basically, the Olyroos are the under-23 national football team for Australia, and they represent the country at the Olympic games mainly. Obviously, they have chosen to develop their own name in an attempt to distinguish themselves from the men's squad. And that brings us to the second part of the answer. Socceroos are the main national football team for men, and this is the team that is competing in the World Cup in a few months' time.

Now that you know the difference between the teams, as promised, we want to dive into some facts and figures to distinguish the teams even further. Let us begin right now.

The difference between Olyroos and Socceroos – results

It goes without saying that when it comes to international football, the Aussies like to see results. So this is the first element that we would like to address to highlight the differences between the two teams. We've broken this down into two separate sections to avoid any confusion.

Olyroos results

On the whole, the Olyroos have not been as successful as the Socceroos. While they obviously get limited chances to compete on the international stage, their track record is not as impressive as their older counterparts. Ever since the team was established back in the late 60s, their best result at the Olympics was 4th place. This was achieved back in 1992, which is quite some time ago. The Olyroos have competed in the summer Olympics on six different occasions, yet they have been unable to replicate the success of 1992.

The Olympics however, is just one of the main events that the Olyroos play in. The other is the AFC Asian Cup, and they have enjoyed much better success in this event, comparatively. In 2020, the Olyroos put in their best performance by earning a 3rd place finish at the event. This was then backed up by a 4th place finish at the AFC Asian Cup in 2022.

difference between olyroos and socceroos
Sapporo, Japan, July 22st 2021: Lachlan Wales (20 Australia) celebrates scoring the first teamg goal with this teammates during the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 match between Argentina and Australia at Sapporo Dome in Sapporo, Japan. (Photo by Daniela Porcelli /SPP/Sipa USA)
Photo by Icon Sport

Socceroos results

Moving back to the Socceroos now, these guys have many more results to take note of. Of course, the World Cup is the biggest tournament that the Socceroos compete in. The Socceroos have actually qualified for this event on six different occasions, with the first one coming back in 1974. Since then, the Socceroos have put together a string of 5 successive qualification campaigns, including the recent qualification for Qatar 2022. The best result, however, was in Germany back in 2006. This was the one and only time that the Socceroos made the knockouts.

Besides the World Cup, the Socceroos get to participate in three other prestigious tournaments. These include the FIFA Confederations Cup, AFC Asian Cup, as well as the OFC Nations Cup. They have actually won the AFC Asian Cup one time, and they’ve won the OFC Nations Cup four times. So clearly, the Socceroos have a better record overall than the Olyroos.

Players of note and individual records

With the prime differences now highlighted, and the best results for each team also mentioned, let us move on to some other intriguing elements. Of course, there have been a string of different players in both teams over the years. And some big names have passed through the Olyroos before taking on the big stages for the Socceroos. Let us share these details now.

Most capped players

It goes without saying that the career of any Olyroos player is naturally shorter than a Socceroos player. That's because they can only play until the age of 23. However, the two most capped guys for the Olyroos are still Brett Emerton and Mark Milligan, with 25 each. Both made the Socceroos squad too, with Emerton gaining 95 caps and Milligan earning 80. As for the most capped guys for the Socceroos, both Tim Cahill and Mark Schwarzer are way out in front. Cahill earned 108 in his time, and Schwarzer pipped him at 109.

difference between olyroos and socceroos
Brett Emerton (AUS ) – Allemagne / Australie – 15.06.2005 – Coupe des Confederations – Francfort – Football

Highest goalscorers

There are some pretty familiar names within the ranks of the highest goalscorers for the Olyroos. But the man that has beaten them all is Mark Viduka – widely regarded as one of the best strikers from Australia. He hit the back of the net 17 times for the Olyroos. Interestingly, he never made it into the top 10 for the Socceroos. In fact, he was nowhere close to the all-time leader, Tim Cahill, who scored 50 goals for the Socceroos.

Difference between Olyroos and Socceroos FAQs

Is the information given here for the difference between Olyroos and Socceroos reliable?

Yes. The information given here which highlights the key differences and records of both teams is 100% reliable.

Are any of the key differences mentioned here likely to change?

It is unlikely that the key differences between the teams will change in the near future. And that's because the differences highlighted have remained intact for several decades already.

Who is the best player that played on both teams?

The best player to compete for both teams is arguably Brett Emerton. And this is a major reason why he gained so many caps for both the Olyroos and Socceroos.

Is it possible for guys to play for both the Olyroos and Socceroos at the same time?

Absolutely. While it isn’t overly common, it is possible for a player to be listed in both squads at the same time.