CANBERRA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- Australia's national men's football team have been hailed as heroes after qualifying for the FIFA World Cup knockout stages.
The Socceroos finished second in Group D with six points after beating Denmark 1-0 in Qatar on Wednesday evening local time.
It marks the second time in history that the men's national team has progressed to the round of 16 at a World Cup and the Socceroos' best-ever point tally in the group stage, beating the four points they won in 2006.
The result sparked celebrations across Australia and calls for Prime Minister (PM) Anthony Albanese to declare a public holiday.
Speaking to reporters after the game, coach Graham Arnold - who was under major pressure to keep the job after failing to qualify for the tournament automatically - compared his team to the "golden generation" side of 2006, which was knocked out by eventual champions Italy.
"Maybe we're talking about a new golden generation now because we've been listening and hearing about the golden generation of 2006, who got four points - and now we've got six," he said.
"I'm just so proud of the players, the work ethic, the commitment, the fight, the way they played. Denmark are top 10 in the world for a reason, they have high-quality players who play in top leagues and defensively, I thought we were outstanding tonight."
Winger Mat Leckie, who scored Australia's goal on the counterattack in the 60th minute, said the team always believed they could make it out of the group.
The Socceroos will play one of the pre-tournament favorites Argentina and superstar Lionel Messi in the round of 16 on Saturday night in Doha.