Ajdin Hrustic and Apostolos Giannou are two recently capped Socceroos that had the potential of appearing in different colours on the international scene but instead chose allegiance to Australia.

Similar scenarios in the past have seen dual nationals slip through the fingers of the national team in favour of representing their family heritage or place of birth.

Here are five players eligible to represent Australia that chose another path.

Christian Vieri – Italy

Vieri was born in Bologna, Italy before his family immigrated to Australia in the 1970s when he was just four. A Marconi youth player he returned to Italy in 1988 to kick-off a star-studded career that included an abundance of individual and club silverware across the Serie A and La Liga.

Internationally Vieri would earn 49 caps contributing 23 goals including a silver boot performance at the 1998 World Cup and is still the Azzurri’s all-time equal World Cup scorer with nine goals from nine games across France 1998 and South Korea/Japan 2002.

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Josip Šimunić – Croatia

Born in Canberra, Šimunić would progress through the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and eventually broke into the Melbourne Knights squad as a teenager before securing a transfer to the Bundesliga with Hamburger SV. He would enjoy a fourteen-year career in Germany mostly at Hertha Berlin where he amassed 222 appearances. Over a 105 cap career with Croatia Šimunić would play at two World Cups and two European Championships as a key squad member.

Šimunić was infamously given two yellows against Australia in the 2006 World Cup but not sent off until a third yellow after the final whistle – Yeah, remember that guy! Referee Graham Poll ironically noted that he recorded Šimunić’s second booking as Socceroo Craig Moore due to his Australian accent.

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Anthony Šerić – Croatia

Sydney born Šerić went through the AIS system in the same vein as Šimunić before departing to his ancestral home in Croatia with Hajduk Split. He would go on to have a career playing in the Italian Serie A & B as well as in Turkey, Greece and Portugal.

Infamously Šerić was selected in both the Australian and Croatian squads when both sides faced off in 1998 prior to the World Cup. Šerić elected to play for Croatia that night as they thrashed the Socceroos 7-0. That was the first of sixteen caps for the Croatian national side in an international career that would include 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups in which he was a non-playing squad member of all three tournaments.

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Georgios Samaras – Greece

Samaras’ father was born in Melbourne and despite never living in Australia was eligible to pull on the green and gold. He eventually would decide to play for Greece and enjoyed an 81-cap career including the 2010 and 2014 World Cups.

Samaras started his club career in the Netherlands with Heerenveen and would have further stints in England with Manchester City and West Brom either side of a six-year stay in Scotland with Celtic, he currently plays in the Turkish second division for Samsunspor.

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Avraam Papadopoulos – Greece

Papadopoulos left Australia aged just two following his birth in Melbourne. After an eleven year career in Greece he departed for short stints in Turkey, China and Japan before currently returning to his country of birth with Brisbane Roar.

A member of the Greek 2010 World Cup squad in South Africa, Papadopoulos would attain 37 caps on the international stage.

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Josh is a student journalist at the University of Queensland currently covering Brisbane Roar's 17/18 season.