The 23-year-old midfielder became Socceroos’ cap No. 617 at Sydney’s Accor Stadium on Thursday night.

“Obviously the result was disappointing,” Stensness told the Network Ten broadcast post-match. “Coming out here at the start of the game, (there was) a lot of hope, a lot of dreams coming true, and it was definitely a massive moment for me.”

Upon being selected in the Socceroos squad late last year, the third-year student reflected on what it would mean to debut for Australia having grown up, learning the game in Sydney.

“I do have a lot of love for New Zealand and my Dad is from New Zealand, so it was lovely to represent them as well,” he said in November upon receiving the news he had been selected in the Socceroos squad.

His selection came less than four months since representing New Zealand in Tokyo, for whom he also played at the U20 World Cup in 2019.

"When I think about which country would make me proudest to represent, that was definitely Australia for me, and the country that I owe the most, going through school and every team that I’ve played for, that’s Australia,” he told Chris Curulli from, in November.

After his third men’s A-League season - and second full-time with the Central Coast Mariners - in 2020/21, Stensness earned a contract with Norwegian club, Viking FK, and is currently on program leave from his Commerce and Science degree to pursue his football.

Stensness played 16 games for the Wellington Phoenix in 2018/19. 

In a quick turnaround for Stensness and the Socceroos, they will next play Saudi Arabia, at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium, Jeddah, on Tuesday for what will be another crucial match in their pursuit to secure a place at this year's men's FIFA World Cup.

Gianni Stensness on debut for the Socceroos, March 24, Sydney Olympic Park. Credit - Cameron Spencer/Getty Images.