With Ange Postecoglou today naming his 23-man squad for clashes with Tajikistan and Jordan later this month in Adelaide and Sydney respectively, we take a look at how the Caltex Socceroos have fared in FIFA World Cup qualifying to date.
Kyrgyzstan v Socceroos (Bishkek, June 17, 2015) 1-2
Their first competitive match since the Asian Cup triumph, Australia faced a tricky assignment against an unknown opponent away in front of a parochial crowd in the capital. Confronted with an uneven pitch, goals to Mile Jedinak and Tommy Oar put the Socceroos in control before a controversial late goal gave the spirited hosts some consolation.
Socceroos v Bangladesh (Perth, September 3, 2015) 5-0
The Socceroos returned to the WA capital for the first time in over a decade and the national side put on a show for the locals. Four goals in the opening 29 minutes sent the hosts on their way (Leckie 6’, Rogic 8’, 20’, Burns 29’) before Aaron Mooy smashed in a long-range strike on the hour mark to cap a memorable night at nib Stadium.
Tajikistan v Socceroos (Dushanbe, September 8, 2015) 0-3
A stubborn Tajikistan outfit provided stern resistance on the artificial surface in Dushanbe, with the scores deadlocked at 0-0 heading into the break. Mark Milligan eventually broke the hosts’ resistance with a scrappy finish 13 minutes into the second stanza, before a brace from Tim Cahill in the final 15 minutes put the result beyond doubt for the visitors.
Jordan v Socceroos (Amman, October 9, 2015) 2-0
Historically not a happy hunting ground for Australia and Jordan again proved to be a tough ask for Ange Postecoglou’s men. Hassan Abdel-Fattah put the hosts ahead from the spot early in the second half before the classy Hamza Al Dardour sealed the match with a well-taken strike in the final 10 minutes. Australia dominated possession and territory in Amman but failed to capitalise against a well-organised and disciplined opponent.
Socceroos v Kyrgyzstan (Canberra, November 12, 2015) 3-0
Quickly the campaign got back on track with a comprehensive win in the capital. Goals to Mile Jedinak and Tim Cahill gave Australia a comfortable advantage in Canberra before Kyrgyzstan conceded an own goal to fall further behind. Australia could and should have won by a larger margin but the 20,000 plus crowd were treated to a fluent, attacking performance by the Socceroos. Debutant James Meredith at left back had a blinder and local lad Tom Rogic dazzled in a 30-minute cameo.
Bangladesh v Socceroos (Dhaka, November 16, 2015) 0-4
Logistical issues made the trip to Dhaka a difficult assignment but the Socceroos got the job done with a professional 4-0 win over the Bengal Tigers. Looked on course for a cricket score after Tim Cahill netted a first-half hat-trick before Mile Jedinak extended the advantage just prior to the break. Failed to add to their tally in the second half but the victory saw Australia leapfrog Jordan back into top spot in Group B.