Spiranovic with Western Sydney Wanderers in 2013
|Full name||Matthew Thomas Spiranovic|
|Date of birth||27 June 1988|
|Place of birth||Geelong, Victoria, Australia|
|Height||1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|North Geelong Warriors|
|2007||1. FC Nürnberg|
|2004||North Geelong Warriors||(1)|
|2007–2011||1. FC Nürnberg||24||(0)|
|2009||1. FC Nürnberg II||13||(2)|
|2010||→ Urawa Red Diamonds (loan)||13||(1)|
|2011–2012||Urawa Red Diamonds||25||(0)|
|2013–2015||Western Sydney Wanderers||31||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 2 November 2016.
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 15 November 2016
Matthew Thomas Spiranovic (Croatian: Matthew Špiranović, pronounced [ʃpirǎːnoʋit͡ɕ]; born 27 June 1988) is an Australian football player who plays for Hangzhou Greentown of the China League One and the Australian national team.
Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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, Spiranovic 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, Spiranovic signed permanently for the club in 2011 for a fee of €450.000.
Spiranovic 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.
In addition to holding an Australian passport, Spiranovic also has a UK passport.
- 1 Career
- 1.1 Early career
- 1.2 1. FC Nürnberg
- 1.3 Urawa Red Diamonds
- 1.4 Al-Arabi
- 1.5 Western Sydney Wanderers
- 1.6 Hangzhou Greentown
- 2 International career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Career statistics
- 5 Awards and honours
- 6 References
- 7 External links
North Geelong Warriors
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.
Victorian Institute of Sport
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. Spiranovic 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. 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 Spiranovic 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.
Australian Institute of Sport
In 2006, Spiranovic 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, Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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.
Having trialled and trained semi-regularly for Melbourne Victory, Spiranovic played as a 16-year-old the club's first friendly match against Oakleigh Cannons in late April in 2005. 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, Spiranovic was not offered a contract by its coach Ernie Merrick for the club's inaugural 2005–06 A-League, as Merrick believed that Spiranovic was too good to play in the A-League. On 5 October 2006, it had been reported in that Spiranovic 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.
"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 (Tomáš Galásek), Brazilian and Croatian internationals." – Spiranovic on signing with 1. FC Nürnberg
1. FC Nürnberg
Spiranovic 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. Days later, Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic scored his first goal for the youth-team in a 5–3 away defeat against 1. FC Kaiserslautern U-19 on 5 April 2007. Spiranovic played his first full 90-minute game in a 1–1 home draw against Wolfsburg on 28 April. 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 Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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 Spiranovic had played a full 90-minutes. 1. FC Nürnberg took part in the 2007–08 UEFA Cup. Throughout the tournament, Spiranovic had been included in the team sheet on various occasions but did not make an appearance. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic'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. Spiranovic 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, Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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 promoted back to the Bundesliga for the 2009–10 season.
In June 2009, it was reported that Fulham boss Roy Hodgson had offered £1million for Spiranovic, but a transfer was not eventuated. Instead, Spiranovic had his contracted extended for another two seasons with 1. FC Nürnberg. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic made just one Bundesliga league appearance in a 4–0 away defeat against Bayer Leverkusen on 3 October 2009. Spiranovic played a full 90-minutes of the match. 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. Spiranovic had made eight league appearances in the Regionalliga Süd, starting in each game consecutively. On 17 November 2009, it had been reported that Spiranovic would be loaned out to another club by January 2010 in a bid to gain more game time. It was insisted by 1. FC Nürnberg's sport director Martin Bader that Spiranovic should gain valuable game time as he had missed a large amount of games due to injury.
Loan to Urawa Red Diamonds
On 7 January 2010, Spiranovic joined Japanese club Urawa Red Diamonds on loan until the end of 2010. His first appearance for Urawa came in a 1–1 home draw against Júbilo Iwata in the 2010 J. League Cup on 31 March. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic scored his first league goal for Urawa in the 56th minute of a 4–1 away victory against Shonan Bellmare on 21 August. He scored from a header after receiving the ball from a Tomoya Ugajin cross. Spiranovic 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.
Urawa Red Diamonds
On 11 December 2010 Spiranovic 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. Due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March, Spiranovic returned to Australia as the J-League had been suspended until April 2011. On 22 June 2011, Spiranovic 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. On 15 July, two days after Urawa beat fifth placed side Kawasaki Frontale 2–0 at home, it was published by FourFourTwo Australia that Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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.
In Urawa's first match of the 2012 J. League Cup on 20 March, Spiranovic received his second yellow card, and subsequent red card, in the 81st minute in his side's 1–0 win against Vegalta Sendai. In July 2012, Spiranovic left Japanese outfit for Al-Arabi Sports Club in the Qatar Stars League.
On 9 July 2012, the Qatari club confirmed that they have signed Spiranovic on a two-year deal. It was reported that Spiranovic's lack of game time in Japan had led him to request a transfer. Spiranovic received offers to go back to Europe, most notably in Wales 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.
Western Sydney Wanderers
On 5 April 2007, Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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 Spiranovic 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. 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. During this time which had followed Craig Moore's retirement from the national team, Spiranovic 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.
2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship
Spiranovic 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. 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, Spiranovic was selected for a Four-Nations tournament in Peru against Costa Rica U–17, Ecuador U–17 and Peru U–17 in July. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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).
2006 AFC Youth Championship
Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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.
2008 Summer Olympics
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 and family life
Spiranovic was born in Geelong, Victoria. He is the son of Michael Spiranovic, an English born former footballer for North Geelong Warriors. Spiranovic 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. Spiranovic 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. 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. Spiranovic's agent is John Grimaud.
National team decision
By 2007 it was clear that Spiranovic 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 Spiranovic'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 Spiranovic's parents received phone calls from Croatia in the middle of the night which applied much pressure on Spiranovic to make his final decision.
|1. FC Nürnberg||2006–07||8||0||2||0||–||–||10||0|
|1. FC Nürnberg II||2007–08||2||0||–||–||–||2||0|
|Urawa Red Diamonds||2010||13||1||0||0||5||0||–||18||1|
|Western Sydney Wanderers||2013–14||18||1||–||–||7||0||25||1|
3Includes J. League Cup.
- Scores and results list Australia U–17's goal tally first.
|1.||26 July 2005||Lima||Peru||2–2||2–2||Four-Nations tournament|
- As of 15 November 2016
Awards and honours
- Weinstein Medal Junior Player of the Year: 2005
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- "Montedio Yamagata vs. Urawa Reds 1 – 2". au.soccerway.com. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
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