Josh Brillante scored a screamer, but it wasn't enough to save the Young Socceroos from a loss at the hands of football minnows El Salvador.
The Qantas Young Socceroos have been dealt a blow in their quest for progression to the knockout stages of the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup, after being defeated 2-1 by El Salvador at the Yeni Sehir Stadium in Rize.
The win was El Salvador's first at any major FIFA tournament outside of beach soccer and the team's star midfielder Diego Coca could hardly believe it when he spoke to journalists post-match.
“It-s a historic and incredible moment for our country,” he told FIFA.com.
“When the referee blew the final whistle it felt like we were touching the sky. To be honest, I don-t think it-s sunk in yet.”
Josh Brilliante looked to have laid the foundation for another dominant Australian display with a super goal from distance on nine minutes, only for Coca and Jose Pena to respond for El Salvador before the break, securing the win for the Central Americans.
Though Australia were dominant in possession and willing in attack, a tenacious and worthy opponent would ultimately deny them at least a share of the spoils.
The loss means Australia's chance at qualification to the knockout stages will largely depend on a win against hosts Turkey in their final Group C clash on Friday (Saturday morning AEST).
Brillante's sublime drive from some twenty metres opened the scoring early on.
The Newcastle Jets midfielder - one of Australia's best three days ago against Colombia - made his presence felt from the outset on this occasion and was rewarded with one of the goal's of the tournament to date.
The Young Socceroos were stopped in their tracks upon Coca's equaliser and further stunned when Pena gave El Salvador the lead close to the break.
The fluid, dominant performance of days ago against Colombia hadn't disappeared entirely, but had certainly eroded somewhat against the challenge of a lively El Salvadoran outfit that deserved their half time lead.
Prolific qualification goal scorer Corey Gameiro was one of three attacking substitutes introduced by Paul Okon after the break as Australia pushed for a result.
El Salvador's defence would prove resilient, with the Young Socceroos struggling to deliver a blow in the final third.
Despite the result, the Young Socceroos can still make it past the group stage for the first time since 2003. The Aussies can gain a passage to round two with a victory over host nation Turkey along with an El Salvador loss or draw with Australia-s first group opponent Colombia.
Colombia beat Turkey overnight 1-0 in their second group match and need a draw with El Salvador to progress.
The Qantas Young Socceroos will tackle hosts Turkey in their final Group C match at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup at Trabzon's Huseyin Avni Aker Stadium on Friday, 28 June at 9pm local time (Saturday, 29 June 4am AEST).Australia 1 (Brillante 9') El Salvador 2 (Coca 17', Pena 40') Yeni Sehir Stadium, Rize
In-form Vukovic earns Genk contract extension
Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Danny Vukovic has been rewarded for his excellent form with a two-season contract extension at Belgian club KRC Genk. The 33-year-old's deal was due to expire at the end of the campaign but the Pro League leaders have taken up their option to extend
Aussies Abroad: Vukovic’s Genk beaten in battle of Belgium’s top two
Danny Vukovic’s Genk remain well clear on top of the table despite falling to a rare defeat in Belgium against Club Brugge overnight. In a meeting of the competition’s top two at the Jan Breydel Stadion, Genk were beaten the fired-up home side, going down 3-1. There was lit
Aussies Abroad: Ryan’s Brighton through to Quarter-Finals while Milligan, Giannou pick up strong results
There were a handful of Caltex Socceroos in action on Sunday morning (AEDT) while some key figures were rested as their clubs negotiated cup ties. Firstly to Europe where Mark Milligan played a full 90 at the heart of Hibernian’s midfield as they welcomed new manager Danny Hec
Aussies Abroad: Luongo gallant in Watford defeat
Caltex Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo can turn his attention to the EFLChampionship after QPR crashed out of the FA Cup on Saturday morning (AEDT). The 26-year-old played the full 90 minutes in QPR’s 1-0 loss to Watford at Loftus Road, in a tight game where each side cou