Figueroa Bundles Australia Out Of Confederations C

Australia is out of the FIFA Confederations Cup, following a 4-2 defeat by Argentina in Nuremberg, despite another double from striker John Aloisi.

Australia is out of the FIFA Confederations Cup, following a 4-2 defeat by Argentina in Nuremberg, despite another double from striker John Aloisi.

Luciano Figueroa-s hat trick for Argentina proved the difference, although Australia was not helped by the Singapore referee, who awarded Argentina a dubious penalty in the first half and failed to give a clear penalty to Australia after Mark Viduka was brought down by Coloccini, which proved the critical moment of the match.

However questions again will be asked about the Australian defending, with all three of Figueroa-s goals preventable, especially the fourth in the dying minutes, where he ghosted in at the back post to poke home a free kick.

The turning point of the match came in a two-minute period soon after half time.

The first incident came when Viduka, on as a half time replacement, brilliantly turned Coloccini in the penalty area and was clearly brought down, however amazingly, the referee turned down the penalty appeal.

Argentina then took the ball up the other end, where the Australian defence allowed a high ball to bounce in the penalty area and Figueroa pounced to snap his shot home past Schwarzer.

So instead of Australia being, potentially, 2-1 down, Argentina was 3-0 up and the game was as good as over.

To Australia-s credit they never gave up trying and when Aloisi broke free in the box in the 60th minute and was caught by Coloccini as he was about to shoot, the referee this time pointing to the spot, which he should have done nine minutes earlier.

Aloisi stepped up to convert his spot kick, despite Argentina goalkeeper Lux getting a hand to the shot.

Nine minutes later, Aloisi pounced on a terrible error by Heinze, who tried to chest the ball back to Lux, but only into the path of the Osasuna striker to slam home is fourth goal of the tournament and keep Australia-s hopes alive.

However despite trying to lift the tempo, Australia was unable to create anymore clear chances and was made to pay when Figueroa pounced for his hat-trick in the 88th minute, to put the game out of reach.

Australia settled well early on and had the better of Argentina, with Skoko having the first shot at goal, which was deflected over the bar.

Chipperfield was looking dangerous on the left and he had one cross that found Tim Cahill, who climbed high but he was unable to direct his header towards goal.

Argentina though was starting to get it-s passing game going and with their first meaningful attack in the 13th minute, scored the opening goal.

Going right through the heart of the Australian defence with short, one-touch passing, the ball eventually found Figueroa and he blasted home from 12 yards.

It was almost level within a minute, when Chipperfield-s cross took a slight deflection off Coloccini, which forced Lux to push the ball away off his line for a corner.

Argentina then started dominating possession and playing at their pace and then in the 32nd minute they received a decent break, when Saviola was awarded a penalty after tangling with Lucas Neill.

The fact that Saviola looked offside prior to going for the ball was ignored was bad enough, but both he and Neill were guilty of holding each other-s shirt and it was only that Saviola went down theatrically that swayed the referee to award the penalty.

Schwarzer managed to get a hand to Riquelme-s penalty, but was unable to keep it out.

In first half injury time, Figueroa almost has his second, when he clipped the crossbar with a header from inswinging corner.

Frank Farina then gave Mark Viduka his first real taste of football in over six months, coming on for Kevin Muscat to partner Aloisi and reverting to a three-man defence.

Argentina captain Sorin had a header go straight at Schwarzer, soon after the break, before the decisive minutes that really decided the outcome of this game.

In fairness to Argentina they had several chances to really blow the game open, with Saviola forcing a good save from Schwarzer, while Zanetti was inches over the bar with a shot from just inside the area.

While the result was disappointing, again Australia proved it can compete with nations the calibre of Argentina, although Farina it will need to find a remedy for the number of goals conceded.

Aloisi-s second double in as many games and Viduka-s encouraging second half will have given Farina plenty of food for thought in starting both players in future matches.

Australia will now play Tunisia in the final game for pride only, after the African champions were beaten 3-0 by Germany in the earlier game.

Match Details

Australia 2 (Aloisi 61- pen/70-) Australia 4 (Figueroa 12-/53-/89-, Riquelme 31-)

Line-up: Mark Schwarzer (gk); Kevin Muscat (Mark Viduka 46-), Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Tony Vidmar, Ljubo Milicevic (Jon McKain 56-), Brett Emerton, Josip Skoko (Jason Culina 74-), Tim Cahill, John Aloisi

Cautions: Neill (30-), Emerton (43-), Cahill (49-), Moore (91-)