Honda's history against the Caltex Socceroos
Former Japan international Keisuke Honda is set to light up the Hyundai A-League this season with Melbourne Victory, but the 32-year-old’s history with Australia goes all the way back to 2011.
Honda is well-known to Australian fans after many a battle with the Socceroos over the years.
Japan and Australia’s football rivalry blossomed at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, but it was not until the AFC Asian Cup Final in 2011 that Honda first played against the Socceroos.
It was Honda and his teammates who got the better of the Aussies on that day, playing 120 minutes as Tadarani Lee’s 109th minute winner saw Japan crowned champions of Asia.
Honda’s next appearance against the Socceroos was a year later in a World Cup qualifier at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The attacking midfielder set up Yuzo Kurihara to make it 1-0 to Japan 20 minutes into the second half, but the Socceroos struck back five minutes later through Luke Wilkshire to seal a 1-1 draw.
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Stealing the show on the road to Brazil
The away fixture in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil saw the Socceroos travel to Saitama Stadium, and it was no surprise to see Honda grab the headlines again.
An 82nd minute goal from Tommy Oar had the Socceroos set up for a massive away win, but a very late penalty saw Honda blast one past Mark Schwarzer.
The goal meant Japan qualified for the World Cup, and Honda was on the front page of every newspaper in Japan the next day.
Honda played his first non-competitive game against the Socceroos in November 2014, assisting the first goal from a corner as Japan ran out 2-1 winners.
A thorn in the Socceroos' side
Back into World Cup qualifying, this time for the 2018 tournament in Russia, Honda lined up against the Socceroos at Etihad Stadium in October 2016.
It took just five minutes for him to assist another goal against Australia, with Mile Jedinak squaring things up in the second half to ensure a 1-1 draw.
Honda will no doubt take over the headlines during his time in the Hyundai A-League, with Melbourne Victory supporters set for an absolute treat at AAMI Park this season.