Australia
7
World Cup Qualifiers
(Thu 24 Mar 2016, 07.30PM LOCAL)
FINAL
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Attendance: 35439
Tajikistan
0

Timeline

Mile Jedinak press conference

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Ange Postecoglou press conference

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New-look Caltex Socceroos in Adelaide

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FFA TV | Wilko welcomes competition

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Mile Jedinak press conference
Mile Jedinak press conference
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Ange Postecoglou press conference
Ange Postecoglou press conference
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New-look Caltex Socceroos in Adelaide
New-look Caltex Socceroos in Adelaide
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FFA TV | Wilko welcomes competition
FFA TV | Wilko welcomes competition

Preview: Caltex Socceroos v Tajikistan

International football is back. After a four-month break, a fresh-looking Caltex Socceroos are in the South Australian capital to face Central Asian opposition in Tajikistan at the Adelaide Oval this Thursday night.

This is the first of two World Cup qualifiers on Australian soil with Harry Redknapp's Jordan facing the Aussies in Sydney four days later to round out this phase of FIFA World Cup Russia 2018™ qualification. 

And with the Jordanians two points behind Australia and also with two games left, Ange Postecoglou’s side are in pole position to top the group – but is anything ever that cut and dried in world football?

Jedinak's WC warning: 'Complacency won't be tolerated'

New kit gallery: Caltex Socceroos, Westfield Matildas

Ange's troops will be confident of taking another significant step towards Russia when they face Tajikistan, a nation out of contention and with nothing to lose (the Tajiks sit 83 places below them in FIFA’s world rankings). 

The new-look Adelaide Oval is not only a world-class venue in the stands but a pristine surface will suit the home side who will want to get the ball on the deck to unleash their passing and possession game.

Ange has brought in a few fresh faces for this clash and there’s a vibrant feel to what they could dish up on Thursday night.

And the Socceroos certainly have the players to make the most of the conditions with the majority of the squad in good form and peak condition.

Celtic's Tom Rogic – fresh from his wonder goal for the Bhoys on the weekend – A-League superstar Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo and Palace skipper Mile Jedinak will all look to impose themselves on the match in midfield.

But the boss has already had to deal with a couple of injury blows, with Matthew Spiranovic and Terry Antonis both forced to withdraw from the squad.

What a luxury though to be able to call on experienced duo Alex Wilkinson and Matt McKay to fill the breach.

Whether those two play a part remains to be seen but goalkeeper Mat Ryan (a late arrival into Adelaide) is likely to get the nod after winning back his number one jersey at Valencia recently after not playing in the last five qualifiers.

The fullback areas remain the most interesting position with four exciting youngsters all vying for the two spots.

Perth Glory’s rising star Josh Risdon and Liverpool's Brad Smith would appear front-runners on the right and left respectively but the impressive Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory) and new Rosenburg signing Alex Gersbach are pressing for selection.

The midfield is where the Aussies will look to dominate. 

What a plethora of options: Jedinak, Rogic, Mooy, Luongo and Mark Milligan should ensure the home side have the bulk of possession and control large chunks of the match.

And in attack, the ageless Tim Cahill, new name Apostolos Giannou (Greek Super League fans will know all about him) and J-League based Nathan Burns are all in strong form with their clubs.

Tajikistan made life difficult for the Aussies in Dushanbe last year, their ultra-defensive game proving tough to break down for the best part of an hour before they fatigued in the face of the Aussies' relentless pressing. 

They are likely to deploy similar tactics here, looking to hit on the counter attack at Adelaide Oval and reveling in the under-dog role. 

Wily forward Manuchehr Dzhalilov, who scored four goals in the 5-0 rout of Bangladesh earlier in the qualifying phase, looms as the Central Asian outfit’s main weapon.

But given Australia’s performances on home soil earlier in the group stage, they will be confident as well as buoyed by an expectant crowd of around 30-40,000 in the City of Churches. 

The Caltex Socceroos are back in Adelaide for the first time in five years. And with a new-look squad and flash new kit, there is much excitement in the South Australian capital. 

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FFA TV | Socceroos' thumping win over Tajikistan Play Video

FFA TV | Socceroos' thumping win over Tajikistan

Take a special look back at the Socceroos' crushing 7-0 win over Tajikistan in Adelaide.

Post Match Videos

Pregame videos

FFA TV | Socceroos' thumping win over Tajikistan

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Socceroos a step closer to Russia 2018

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Caltex Socceroos thrash Tajikistan

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Caltex Socceroos press conference

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FFA TV | Socceroos' thumping win over Tajikistan
FFA TV | Socceroos' thumping win over Tajikistan
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Socceroos a step closer to Russia 2018
Socceroos a step closer to Russia 2018
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Caltex Socceroos thrash Tajikistan
Caltex Socceroos thrash Tajikistan
Watching
Caltex Socceroos press conference
Caltex Socceroos press conference

Caltex Socceroos thrash Tajikistan

A dominant Caltex Socceroos have crushed Tajikistan 7-0 in a one-sided FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifier at Adelaide Oval on Thursday night.

In Australia’s first game in Adelaide in five years, the home fans were treated to an attacking masterclass by Australia which the overawed Tajiks had no answer to.

Massimo Luongo and Mile Jedinak scored inside the first 12 minutes to have the Socceroos 2-0 at the break before they ran riot in the second half.

It was carnage for the visitors as Mark Milligan scored another penalty early in the second half before Nathan Burns (two) and substitute Tom Rogic scored a brace within five minutes of coming off the bench.

And it could have been an even bigger win for the hosts, who hit the woodwork an astonishing four times in the second half.

Debutant Apostolos Giannou was one of the Socceroos' best, finishing with assists for four of the goals and unlucky not to get one himself with an effort that hit the post in the second half.

Playmaker Aaron Mooy continued his incredible run of form with another brilliant display in the middle of the park while local boy Ryan McGowan and Burns were also strong.

But the green and gold didn’t have a bad player as they rarely got out of first gear, now needing only a point against Jordan on Tuesday to confirm their spot in the next stage of qualifying.

New boy Giannou was handed a debut up front and the 26-year-old made an immediate impact, setting up the opening goal inside two minutes.

Burns played the ball into Giannou at the top of the box, with the striker teeing up Luongo who arrowed a powerful shot into the bottom corner.

Soon after it was 2-0 and Giannou was again involved, racing onto a pinpoint through-ball by Jedinak only to be brought down in the box by keeper Alisher Tuychiev.

An ice-cool Jedinak had no trouble sweeping home from the spot for the skipper’s 12th international goal.

The Socceroos were playing some sublime attacking football. The passing was slick, the touches were assured and the movement off the ball was first-class.

It was the type of play Postecoglou has been craving with his side enjoying the acres of space and time on the ball afforded to them by the out-classed visitors.

Chance after chance went begging and a one-sided first half with Mat Leckie, Burns, Giannou and Jedinak all squandering excellent chances to add to the lead.

Milligan replaced Jedinak at the break and he had his name on the scoresheet within 12 minutes of the resumption.

Giannou was again in the thick of it, hauled down in the box by Ergashev Davronjon for another penalty, which Milligan dispatched with aplomb.

Burns added a fourth 10 minutes later with a simple tap-in but Mooy deserved all the credit.

The exceptional Melbourne City playmaker mesmerised the Tajikistan defence, showing great strength and skill to hold off two defenders before picking out Burns with a delightful cross.

Rogic came off the bench and made an immediate impact, scoring twice in the space of two minutes.

First he was credited with a goal after volleying home Mooy’s free-kick, although replays suggested it might not have crossed the line before Giannou slammed it in.

Before the crowd could catch their breath they were celebrating again as Rogic shimmied past one defender and curled in a classy effort with the outside of his left foot.

Burns then completed the rout three minutes from time with a simple header from McGowan’s cross.

Jordan is now the final hurdle for the Socceroos to overcome to win the group when the two sides meet in Sydney on Tuesday.

Caltex Socceroos 7 (Luongo 2’, Jedinak 12’, Milligan 57’, Burns 67’, 87’, Rogic 70’, 72’)

Tajikistan 0

Crowd: 35,439 @ Adelaide Oval