Matthew Špiranović

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Matthew Špiranović
Matthew Spiranovic WSW NYL.jpg
Špiranović with Western Sydney Wanderers in 2013
Personal information
Full name Matthew Thomas Špiranović
Date of birth (1988-06-27) 27 June 1988 (age 25)
Place of birth Geelong, Australia
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Centre Back
Club information
Current club Western Sydney Wanderers
Number 13
Youth career
North Geelong Warriors
Keilor Park
Melbourne Knights
2004–2005 VIS
2005 Melbourne Victory Youth
2006 AIS
2007 1. FC Nürnberg
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2004 North Geelong Warriors (1)
2005 Melbourne Victory 0 (0)
2006–2011 1. FC Nürnberg 24 (0)
2009 1. FC Nürnberg II 10 (2)
2010 Urawa Red Diamonds (loan) 13 (1)
2011–2012 Urawa Red Diamonds 25 (0)
2012–2013 Al-Arabi 12 (1)
2013– Western Sydney Wanderers 15 (0)
National team
2004–2005 Australia U17 17 (1)
2006 Australia U20 14 (0)
2007–2008 Australia U23 8 (0)
2008– Australia 17 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 March 2014.

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 5 March 2014

Matthew Thomas Špiranović (born 27 June 1988) is an Australian Association football player who plays for Western Sydney Wanderers and the Australia national association football team.

Špiranović started his career with Melbourne Victory, making one competitive appearance before being released with the consent of coach Ernie Merrick to join German Bundesliga club 1. FC Nürnberg. Špiranović struggled in his new climate with both injuries and form, making just 28 first team appearances over four seasons with the German club, playing more frequently for the club's second side. In search of more consistent playing time, Špiranović then joined Urawa Red Diamonds making 13 league appearances and scoring 1 goal during the 2010 J-League season. At the end of his loan spell, Špiranović signed permanently for the club in 2011 for a fee of 450.000.[1]

Špiranović has made appearances for Australia during the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. He has also represented Australia at the 2005 OFC U-17 Championship, the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship, the 2006 AFC Youth Championship, the 2008 Summer Olympics and at the 2011 AFC Asian Cup, where Australia finished runners-up.

Career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Špiranović played junior football in Geelong and Melbourne and had represented his state, Victoria, at U–14 and U–15 Australian national championship level.

North Geelong Warriors[edit]

He had a brief stint with former junior club and Victorian State League Division 2 North-West side North Geelong Warriors, scoring one league goal in a 5–0 home win against Ablion Rovers on 5 June 2004.[2]

Victorian Institute of Sport[edit]

In 2004, he earned a scholarship with the Victorian Institute of Sport under coach Ian Greener, and was awarded the Weinstein Medal for best junior player of the year by Football Federation Victoria in 2005.[3] Špiranović was selected in a 20-man Australia U–17 national team by coach Ange Postecoglou for a five-match tour of Chile against Palestino U–17, Universidad Catolica U–17, Colo-Colo U–17 and Chile U–17.[4] The tour was preparation for the 2005 OFC U-17 Championship. The Qantas U–17 Joeys were then crowned champions of the 2005 OFC U-17 Championship and qualified for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru, where which Špiranović played in all three group-stage matches of the competition. He was also selected for a Four-Nations tournament in Peru against Costa Rica U–17, Ecuador U–17 and Peru U–17 in July 2005.[5]

Australian Institute of Sport[edit]

In 2006, Špiranović then graduated to the Australian Institute of Sport where he joined future Socceroo team-mates Dario Vidošić, Bruce Djite, Nikita Rukavytsya and Nathan Burns. During his stint at the AIS, Špiranović received a call up to a 20-man Australia U–20 national team squad for a five-match tour of South America in August 2006.[6] Špiranović participated in matches against Colo-Colo U–20, Universidad de Chile U–20, Chile U–20 and Argentina U–20. The South American tour was preparation for the 2006 AFC Youth Championship, the qualification campaign for the eventual 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Melbourne Victory[edit]

Having trialled and trained semi-regularly for Melbourne Victory, Špiranović played as a 16-year-old the club's first friendly match against Oakleigh Cannons in late April in 2005.[7] The friendly match was preparation for Melbourne Victory's first competitive match a few days later, where which he again featured for the club in their 2004–05 OFC Club Championship qualifier against Adelaide United on 7 May 2005. Melbourne Victory lost the game 4–1 in a penalty shootout. Ultimately, Špiranović was not offered a contract by its coach Ernie Merrick for the club's inaugural 2005–06 A-League, as Merrick believed that Špiranović was too good to play in the A-League.[8][9] On 5 October 2006, it had been reported in that Špiranović was signed to 1. FC Nürnberg after training with club's first-team for a week and playing in a friendly against a second division club.[8][10][11]

"Ernie (Merrick) not picking me up has done me a favour in a sense because I'll probably be better off in the long run. I trained with Victory for three weeks and Nurnberg for one and the difference is massive. You've got 12 international players at Nurnberg. There's the Czech captain (Tomas Galasek), Brazilian and Croatian internationals." – Špiranović on signing with 1. FC Nürnberg[8]

1. FC Nürnberg[edit]

2006–2011[edit]

Špiranović joined 1. FC Nürnberg in October 2006, where he was handed the number 23 shirt. He debuted in the 2006–07 Bundesliga in a 0–0 away draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach on 30 January 2007, being substituted onto the field for Marek Nikl in the 92nd minute.[12] Days later, Špiranović made his full debut for 1. FC Nürnberg in a 3–0 home victory against Bayern Munich on 2 February. He was substituted off of the field for Michael Beauchamp in the 46th minute due to a corked thigh.[13] Špiranović briefly played for 1. FC Nürnberg U-19 in the Under 19 Bundesliga South/Southwest, he debuted in a 2–1 away defeat against Karlsruher SC U-19 on 25 February 2007.[14] Špiranović scored his first goal for the youth-team in a 5–3 away defeat against 1. FC Kaiserslautern U-19 on 5 April 2007.[15] Špiranović played his first full 90-minute game in a 1–1 home draw against Wolfsburg on 28 April.[16] He also made two appearances in the 2006–07 DFB-Pokal, his second appearance coming in the 3–2 final victory against Stuttgart on 26 May, where Špiranović was substituted onto the field for Marek Nikl in the 72nd minute. Winning the DFB-Pokal meant that 1. FC Nürnberg had qualified for the first-round of the 2007–08 UEFA Cup. Špiranović completed the 2006–07 season having made 8 league appearances.

His first appearance of the 2007–08 Bundesliga came in a 1–0 away defeat against Hamburger SV on 22 September 2007, where Špiranović had played a full 90-minutes.[17] 1. FC Nürnberg took part in the 2007–08 UEFA Cup. Throughout the tournament, Špiranović had been included in the team sheet on various occasions but did not make an appearance. Špiranović made seven league appearances in the 2007–08 season, starting in six games. However, 1. FC Nürnberg had finished in 16th position of the 2007–08 Bundesliga table and were subsequently relegated to the 2. Bundesliga for the 2008–09 season. Špiranović's first appearance in the 2008–09 2. Bundesliga came in a 2–2 home draw against Alemannia Aachen on 31 August 2008. He played a full 90-minutes of the match.[18] Špiranović started in the next seven matches until November, where he contracted a long-term hamstring injury and ruptured an ankle tendon and would eventually miss the rest of the season. On his return, Špiranović spent some time with 1. FC Nürnberg II in the Regionalliga Süd whilst regaining his fitness. He debuted for the side in a 4–0 away loss against TSV 1860 München II 24 April 2009.[19][20] Špiranović made three appearances for the reserve-team before concluding the season. 1. FC Nürnberg finished in third place of the 2008–09 2. Bundesliga table and faced Energie Cottbus in the relegation playoff. 1. FC Nürnberg won 5–0 on aggregate and where promotoed back back to the Bundesliga for the 2009–10 season.

In June 2009, it was reported that Fulham boss Roy Hodgson had offered £1million for Špiranović, but a transfer was not eventuated.[21][22] Instead, Špiranović had his contracted extended for another two seasons with 1. FC Nürnberg.[23] Špiranović commenced the 2009–10 with the club's reserve side. He scored his first goal for the side in the 81st minute of a 4–1 away victory against Greuther Fürth II on 12 September 2009.[24][25] Špiranović made just one Bundesliga league appearance in a 4–0 away defeat against Bayer Leverkusen on 3 October 2009. Špiranović played a full 90-minutes of the match.[26] He re-joined 1. FC Nürnberg's reserve-team for the remainder of 2009, scoring his second Regionalliga Süd league goal in the 69th minute of a 4–1 away victory against Freiburg II on 29 November 2009.[27] Špiranović had made eight league appearances in the Regionalliga Süd, starting in each game consecutively. On 17 November 2009, it had been reported that Špiranović would be loaned out to another club by January 2010 in a bid to gain more game time.[28] It was insisted by 1. FC Nürnberg's sport director Martin Bader that Špiranović should gain valuable game time as he had missed a large amount of games due to injury.[29][30][31]

Loan to Urawa Red Diamonds[edit]

2010 season[edit]

On 7 January 2010, Špiranović joined Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds on loan until the end of 2010.[32] His first appearance for Urawa came in a 1–1 home draw against Júbilo Iwata in the 2010 J. League Cup on 31 March.[33] Špiranović debuted in the 2010 J. League season in a 2–1 home victory against Nagoya Grampus on 5 May, where he was substituted onto the field for Yosuke Kashiwagi in the 89th minute.[34] Špiranović scored his first league goal for Urawa in the 56th minute of a 4–1 away victory against Shonan Bellmare on 21 August.[35] He scored from a header after receiving the ball from a Tomoya Ugajin cross.[36] Špiranović had finished the season making 13 league appearances, starting in 7 consecutive games which earned him a call up from Australia's coach, Holger Osieck, for two international friendlies.[37]

Urawa Red Diamonds[edit]

2011 season[edit]

On 11 December 2010 Špiranović joined Urawa on a permanent basis after the Japanese club bought out his contract after a very impressive first season in J1 despite frequent injuries.[38][39] Due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March, Špiranović returned to Australia as the J-League had been suspended until April 2011.[40] On 22 June 2011, Špiranović returned from a one-match suspension, due to receiving consecutive yellow cards in two separate games, and played a full game in defence as Urawa Red Diamonds claimed a much-needed 3–0 victory over Avispa Fukuoka. His efforts in defence drew praise from under-pressure Urawa boss Zeljko Petrovic, as Urawa were stuck in mid-table for most of the J-League season.[41] On 15 July, two days after Urawa beat fifth placed side Kawasaki Frontale 2–0 at home, it was published by FourFourTwo Australia that Špiranović was delighted to finally be enjoying regular injury-free first-team action, however, admitted his frustration by the struggles of his club during the J-League season as Urawa had only recorder just three J-League wins at the time.[42] Špiranović continued his fine form playing 90 minute games in defence as Urawa would record three wins in the same week. A 2–0 win to Ventforet Kofu on 23 July, a 2–1 J. League Cup win to Montedio Yamagata on 27 July and a 1–0 away victory to Kawasaki Frontale on 30 July ensured Urawa's winning streak where which the side had been undefeated for nine consecutive games.[43][44][45][46]

2012 season[edit]

In Urawa's first match of the 2012 J. League Cup on 20 March, Špiranović received his second yellow card, and subsequent red card, in the 81st minute in his side's 1–0 win against Vegalta Sendai.[47][48] In July 2012, Špiranović left Japanese outfit for Al-Arabi Sports Club in the Qatar Stars League.

Al-Arabi[edit]

Spiranovic during his signing ceremony with Qatar's Al Arabi Sports Club

On 9 July 2012, the Qatari club confirmed that they have signed Špiranović on a two-year deal.[49] It was reported that Špiranović's lack of game time in Japan had led him to request a transfer. Špiranović received offers to go back to Europe, most notably in England from Brendan Rodgers at Swansea City and then Liverpool, however, he opted for Al Arabi following the lead of Australians Sasa Ognenovski and Mark Bresciano in signing for a Qatari club.[50]

Western Sydney Wanderers[edit]

Špiranović returned to the A-League in time for the 2013–14 season, signing with Western Sydney Wanderers.[51]

International career[edit]

Spiranovic during a Socceroos training session
Spiranovic with the Socceroos

Socceroos[edit]

On 4 April 2007, Špiranović publicly announced his intention to play for Australia on SBS's football program The World Game. After Spiranovic stated his intention to play for Australia he was called up to the national side for a friendly against Uruguay which was held on 2 June 2007. Špiranović did not play in the defeat against the South Americans and surprisingly missed out on a spot in Australia's 2007 Asian Cup Squad where which only five recognized defenders were selected. Špiranović made his senior international debut for the Socceroos on 23 May 2008, coming on as a substitute against Ghana, followed by a start in the World Cup Qualifier against China on 22 June 2008. Despite the public's faith that Špiranović would make the 2010 FIFA World Cup squad, as well as being transferred to Japanese side Urawa Red Diamonds in order to gain more playing time, he ultimately missed out on selection.[52] After a lengthy absence from the national team, Spiranovic played a full 90 minutes in a 0–0 draw against Switzerland on 5 September 2010.[53][54] During this time which had followed Craig Moore's retirement from the national team, Špiranović was labelled as Australia's central defender for the next decade as coach Holger Osieck noticed his potential before selection for the 2011 Asian Cup.[55]

2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship[edit]

Špiranović was selected in a 20-man Australia U–17 national team by coach Ange Postecoglou for a five-match tour of Chile against Palestino U–17, Universidad Catolica U–17, Colo-Colo U–17 and Chile U–17.[4][4][56][57] The tour was preparation for the 2005 OFC U-17 Championship. The Qantas U-17 Joeys were then crowned champions of the 2005 OFC U-17 Championship and qualified for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in Peru. Prior to the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship in September 2005, Špiranović was selected for a Four-Nations tournament in Peru against Costa Rica U–17, Ecuador U–17 and Peru U–17 in July.[5] Špiranović scored his first international goal during the tournament, in a 2–2 against Peru when with fifteen minutes remaining he had gotten on the end of a placed ball from Joel Allwright to head home powerfully in the 74th minute.[58] Špiranović was selected in the 20-man squad for the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship along with team-mates Kaz Patafta, Nathan Burns, Robbie Kruse, Scott Jamieson and Leigh Broxham. He played in all three group-stage matches of the competition and was part of the team's starting–11. Australia finished in third place of their respective group, after losing to Turkey (1–0) and to Mexico (3–0), and winning against Uruguay (2–1).[59][60][61]

2006 AFC Youth Championship[edit]

Špiranović received a call up to a 20-man Australia U–20 national team squad for a five-match tour of South America in August 2006.[6][62] Špiranović participated in matches against Colo-Colo U–20, Universidad de Chile U–20, Chile U–20 and Argentina U–20. The South American tour was preparation for the 2006 AFC Youth Championship, the qualification campaign for the eventual 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Špiranović was selected to play at the 2006 AFC Youth Championship held in India. Australia finished in second spot of their respective group after losing to China (1–0) and defeating Thailand (3–1) and the United Arab Emirates (2–0). Australia advanced to the quarter–finals where they were defeated 2–1 against South Korea and failed to qualify for the 2007 FIFA U-20 World Cup.[63]

2008 Summer Olympics[edit]

By 2008 he was selected to represent the Australia U-23 squad at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, playing in all three group matches against Serbia, Argentina and Cote d'Ivoire, team finished third in their respective group.

Personal life[edit]

Personal and family life[edit]

Špiranović was born in Geelong, Victoria. He is the son of Michael Špiranović, an English born former footballer for North Geelong Warriors.[64] Špiranović grew up in Geelong's South-West suburb Wandana Heights. He attended St. Robert's Primary School of Geelong and St Joseph's College from 2001 to 2005. Špiranović has two younger sisters, Amelia, who play for South Melbourne in the Women's Victorian Premier League, and Laura, who plays for Melbourne Victory in the W-League.[65] He shares a strong friendship with former 1. FC Nürnberg teammate Dario Vidošić, the pair having played together for the Australia U-20 squad before signing professional terms with the German club. Špiranović's agent is John Grimaud.[8]

National team decision[edit]

By 2007 it was clear that Špiranović was to play for Australia when he officially rejected an offer from the Croatian Football Federation. Former Socceroo's coach Graham Arnold was informed of Špiranović's decision by phone and therefore included him in the national side prior to the 2007 Asian Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers. Arnold stated that the FFA, as well as the Australian national team's staff, were in danger of losing the defender as Špiranović's parents received phone calls from Croatia in the middle of the night which applied much pressure on Špiranović to make his final decision.[66][67][68][69][70]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

Statistics accurate as of match played 10 July 2012[71][72]

Club Season League Cup1 League Cup2 Continental3 Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Melbourne Victory 2005–06 - - - 1 0 1 0
Total - - - 1 0 1 0
1. FC Nürnberg 2006–07 8 0 2 0 - - 10 0
2007–08 7 0 0 0 - 1 0 8 0
2008–09 8 0 1 0 - - 9 0
2009–10 1 0 0 0 - - 1 0
Total 24 0 3 0 - 1 0 28 0
Urawa Red Diamonds 2010 13 1 0 0 5 0 - 18 1
2011 25 0 0 0 3 0 - 28 0
2012 0 0 - 2 0 - 2 0
Total 38 1 0 0 10 0 - 48 1
Al-Arabi 2012–13
Total
Career total 62 1 3 0 10 0 2 0 77 1

1Includes DFB-Pokal and Emperor's Cup.

2Includes J. League Cup.

3Includes OFC Champions League and UEFA Europe League.

International[edit]

Under–17[edit]

Scores and results list Australia U–17's goal tally first.
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 26 July 2005 Lima  Peru 2–2 2–2 Four-Nations tournament

Socceroos[edit]

National team Year Apps Goals
Australia
2008 2 0
2009 2 0
2010 1 0
2011 7 0
2012 2 0
Total 14 0

Awards and honours[edit]

Australia[edit]

Club[edit]

1. FC Nürnberg
Urawa Red Diamonds

Individual[edit]

  • Weinstein Medal Junior Player of the Year: 2005

References[edit]

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External links[edit]