Australia

How a simple gesture pushed this Socceroo’s son into the limelight at the World Cup

Key Points
  • Mitchell Duke scored the match-winning goal for the Socceroos against Tunisia on Saturday.
  • The striker celebrated with a gesture to his son Jaxson, who was in the crowd.
  • The sweet moment between father and son made headlines around the world.
Mitchell Duke may have been the name on everyone’s lips after the Socceroos’ win against Tunisia on Saturday, but one touching moment in the match also catapulted his son onto the world stage.
After scoring that secured Australia’s first World Cup win in 12 years, Duke ran towards the crowd, making a ‘J’ symbol with his hands in tribute to his son Jaxson.
Television cameras then cut to the crowd at Qatar’s Al Janoub Stadium to capture Jaxson, who was decked out in a Socceroos jersey with his dad’s number 15 on it, returning the gesture.
“It’s been a great reaction from all around the world by the sounds of it,” the Socceroos striker told FIFA.
“He’s [Jaxson’s] overshone me but I’ll take that – he’s a little superstar and I’m happy he’s getting all the headlines.

“I’m sure he’s going to be a little king when he goes back to his school, as well.”

Duke has been living apart from his wife, son, and daughter – who are based in the United Kingdom – since signing with Japanese club Fagiano Okayama in August last year.

“To share in that moment with him is something we’ll look back on, and be one of the best memories of our lifetime,” Duke said.

“I’m sure when he’s a bit older … he’ll be able to appreciate it a little bit more.”
The 23rd-minute header Duke scored against Tunisia means the Socceroos are a chance to finish in the top two of Group D, and for the first time since 2006.
The 31-year-old said Socceroos legend Tim Cahill gave him some tips before the tournament.

“I was one of the earliest ones here in Qatar, preparing for this World Cup, and I was lucky enough for him to join us in training for a few times,” Duke said.

Mitch Duke celebrates his goal against Tunisia. Source: Getty / Miguel Medina

“He gave me a few pointers, just to try and get a bit more of that ruthless nature because it’s a World Cup, you may be limited with chances.

“I think that’s helped with my mindset for sure, and yeah, I’m glad I was able to score a goal of his kind of quality.”

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