Socceroos take step on road to Brazil

Socceroos Australia v Jordan Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

Tim Cahill s) Photo: Scott Barbour


It’s not a done deal just yet but Australia are on track to qualify for a third straight World Cup after demolishing Jordan at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night.

In arguably their best performance in years, the Socceroos barely gave Jordan a chance to settle with a strong first half before pounding home three second-half goals.

With one match to play, Australia have their destiny in their own hands. Should they defeat Iraq next Tuesday at ANZ Stadium, the Socceroos will be assured of their place at the world’s biggest event.

An early strike by Mark Bresciano put the Socceroos on their way after 15 minutes. The veteran put in a match-of-the-match display from defensive midfield.

Fellow veteran Tim Cahill put Australia clear after 61 minutes when he expertly headed home Robbie Kruse’s cross.

Kruse completed an outstanding personal display when he collected the ball on the edge of the box before turning and firing home to put an exclamation mark on the occasion.

When Lucas Neill scored in the 84th minute – his first Socceroos goal in 17 years of international football – it was party time for the players and the crowd of 43,785.

Depending on results elsewhere, Australia may need only a draw against Iraq to seal their place in Brazil.

As expected, the Socceroos went in with an unchanged line-up from the 1-1 draw against Japan last week in Saitama.

Having been beaten 2-1 in the corresponding game in Amman last year, the onus was on the Socceroos to square the ledger at home. Australia controlled the tempo early and seemed content to knock the ball around in midfield, only occasionally resorting to the longer balls frequently used last week.

Despite Saeed Murjan forcing an early save from Mark Schwarzer, the action was all at the other end.

After back-to-back chances were missed by Brett Holman and Bresciano in the 14th minute, less then 60 seconds later, Australia had their reward.

Luke Wilkshire exchanged passes with Kruse, who raced into space down the right. While the Jordanian players stopped for a foul, the referee played advantage, giving Kruse all the time he needed to pick his pass.

He spotted the oncoming Bresciano, who seized his moment to fire home.

The Socceroos beamed with confidence and put together more chances towards half-time as the visitors’ confidence began to fray – evidenced by Khalil Bani Attiah’s hacking of Kruse, earning a yellow card.

The Socceroos looked keen to double their advantage early in the second stanza and clearly wanted to finish the job in style.

Chances fell to Wilkshire and Mark Milligan but neither was converted, leaving a sliver of hope for Adnan Hamad’s team.

When Adnan Adous skipped to the touchline and crossed the ball across goal, hearts were in mouths, but the Socceroos held firm. It was then they cut loose.

Barely seconds after coming on, Archie Thompson linked with Holman, who sent Kruse away down the right and his cross was crisply headed past the keeper by Cahill.

Kruse added a touch of class as he skinned Mohammad Mustafa before slamming his shot past the hapless Amer Shafia in the Jordan net.

Australia’s night was made perfect when Neill nodded his close-range header home, leading to the embarrassing substitution of Shafia, who ran straight down the tunnel to the jeers of a delighted crowd.

Australia 4 (Mark Bresciano 15, Tim Cahill 61, Robbie Kruse 76, Lucas Neill 84) bt Jordan 0  at Etihad Stadium. Crowd: 43,785 Referee: Abdul Malik Bashir

Click here to keep in touch with the world of sport via SMH Sport’s Facebook page.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

Posted in 杭州龙凤