Socceroos legend Mark Bresciano spoke to us about one of Australia’s most famous sporting moments, which happened before a ball was even kicked.
How were you feeling before the game against Chile in Brazil in 2014?
I was probably more nervous than excited because I was coming back from an injury. So I honestly didn’t know how my body was going to pull up.
How did you feel about the Chile team you were about to play?
They were good. They had some freaks in their team. I remember Vidal. Playing against him in the Serie A – just a beast, very strong in the midfield. And Sanchez, you don’t know what he’s going to do.
He gets the ball, he creates things, he scores goals.
He can pull a rabbit out of the hat at any time with his skills, his ability to dribble and finish.
How did you meet Alan, your mascot in Brazil?
It all started in the tunnel. It was a funny stadium, because we had to walk up the stairs to get to the pitch. I saw all the other kids already lined up next to the players, holding their hands.
And I remember the lady coming to me and saying “Your mascot will be waiting for you up the top of the stairs.”
So I climbed the stairs and there he was, on crutches. He couldn’t have gone up the stairs with us. I said hello and started walking beside him.
We were falling behind because he had difficulty walking so I was just trying to make him feel comfortable, no rush, take your time, we’ll get there…
Tell us about ‘that’ moment that went around the world...
Just after the national anthems I looked down and realised his shoelace was undone.
And I’m thinking, “How’s he going to tie those shoelaces up? It’s impossible.”
I did what any other dad would do: get down, tie up the shoelace and get on with it.
So it was just an instinctive thing?
Honestly, it was second nature to me. I saw it, untied shoelace, I just dropped down with no hesitation and bang, done.
I think maybe because I had kids also at that time of my life.
They couldn’t do their shoelaces up, because they were young. So who does it? It’s either the mother or the father.
Did you have any idea that that moment would ultimately be such an iconic photo?
No. It’s the last thing that’s in your head. You’re just doing a good gesture.
For me, it was just an everyday thing that you do. It just happened to be there in the middle of, of the World Cup and it got captured.
I didn’t even know people saw it. I’m not on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever is out there. But my friends are.
So straight after the game, they’re the ones, text messages, phone calls. They told me it’s gone viral. I thought, wow.
Why do you think it became so famous?
Maybe because when you come into those tournaments and especially a World Cup, it is very selfish.
You’re really just full focus on yourself, the team, your country. And nothing else matters. But that’s probably why everyone felt it.
Realising that apart from everything that’s going on, the pressure, excitement just before the whistle, you still have the courtesy to do something human like that. I think people like to see good in people.
People just happy to help out for no reason whatsoever.