High Fives For Socceroos

The Socceroos have secured a confidence-boosting 5-0 victory over Jamaica in their final outing prior to their FIFA World Cup play-off matches against South American opposition next month.

The Socceroos have secured a confidence-boosting 5-0 victory over Jamaica in their final outing prior to their FIFA World Cup play-off matches against South American opposition next month.

First half goals from Marco Bresciano and Archie Thompson had Australia firmly in the box seat and they added a further three goals from captain Mark Viduka and substitutes John Aloisi and Joel Griffiths. Hiddink gave an international debut to Romanian-based Michael Thwaite and in a revised back three formation, while Luke Wilkshire was a surprise inclusion to the midfield. While Jamaica were a shadow of the team that lost to Australia 2-1 two years in Reading, it was the manner of the win that caught the eye, especially in attack, with Jason Culina, Viduka and Thompson linking well and supported admirably by the midfield. With thousands of fans still streaming into the ground at kick-off, the match got off to the perfect start for Australia - a goal after two minutes. Bresciano, in for Tim Cahill, started and finished and incisive move with Viduka, his finish with a curling effort from 20 metres, sailing over a stunned Jamaican goalkeeper Shawn Sawyers. With Jamaica content to sit and play on the counter, Australia-s creative players were looking to get into the game as much as possible, with Hiddink surprisingly give Brett Emerton a run in the centre of midfield. Australia continued to create the better opportunities with their direct and incisive play in the last third, with Emerton and Scott Chipperfield both having efforts from either side of the penalty box, going across the face of goal. A second goal appeared inevitable, but it came via a quick counter-attack after a strong tackle by Wilkshire advanced the ball forward 30 metres down the right sideline. The alert Culina picked up the loose ball and saw Thompson steaming forward and his cross-field pass was inch perfect for the Melbourne Victory striker, whose first touch took him back inside his marker and gave him time to pick and direct his shot home. Culina should have made it 3-0 shortly afterwards, when excellent ball movement, plus a well-timed run saw Culina break the offside trap and race into the box, but his shot was saved by Sawyers down low. If the first half didn-t whet the appetite of the Australian fans, it would have been shortly after the start of the second half, with the third goal. Again some superb one-touch passing on the left, saw Emerton release Thompson on the left edge of the penalty box. With Viduka free in the box, Thompson knocked in a superb cross, which the Middlesbrough striker appeared to lose at first, but as he appealed for a handball, the ball fell at his feet and he duly slammed it into the roof of the net. It was the perfect present on his 30th birthday and shortly afterwards, Hiddink gave him a deserved rest. His replacement Aloisi, didn-t take long to get into the action, when he picked up a loose ball on the edge of the six yard box, to clip home the fourth goal. With the game well and truly in the bag, Hiddink gave Joel Griffiths an international debut and it became one to remember for the Swiss-based midfielder, who poked home from close range, after Aloisi had struck the post. Jason Culina was named Powerade player of the match in what was Australia-s 500th international match against all opposition since being admitted back to FIFA in 1963. Despite the solid win, Hiddink wasn't getting too vcarried away, saying "I'm always critical, but overall the attitude was perfect and it was a very good victory." "We have to look at this relaistically and it wasn't the strongest Jamaican team, but there were some very good things defensively and offensively today." "I look at the little details, I'm very sharp on that and at this high level of football these details are decisive," he added.

Australia will find out next month-s opponent on Thursday when the final round of South American qualifiers takes place. Only three nations remain in contention to be Australia-s opponent following this morning-s matches with Uruguay currently sitting in fifth place on 22 points followed by Colombia and Chile on 21 points. Thursday-s matches are Uruguay v Argentina in Montevideo, Chile v Ecuador in Santiago and Paraguay v Colombia in Asuncion.

Match Details

AUSTRALIA 5 (Marco Bresciano 2-, Archie Thompson 27-, Mark Viduka 47-, John Aloisi 59-, Joel Griffiths 84-)


Australian line-up: Zeljko Kalac (gk), Tony Vidmar (Josip Skoko 53-), Lucas Neill, Michael Thwaite, Scott Chipperfield, Mark Bresciano (Tim Cahill 79-), Brett Emerton (Vince Grella 70-), Luke Wilkshire (Ahmad Elrich 79-), Jason Culina, Archie Thompson (Joel Griffiths 70-), Mark Viduka (John Aloisi 57-).

Substitutes (unused): Ante Covic (gk), Stan Lazaridis, Jon McKain

Cautions: nil Jamaican line-up: Shawn Sawyers (gk), Damian Stewart (Fabian Stewart 64-), Tyrone Marshall Claude Davis, Nicholy Finlayson (Desmond Breakenridge 53-), Jermaine Johnson (Damani Ralph 50-), Ricardo Gardner , Omar Daley, Robert Scarlett (Garfield Reid 53-), Ricardo Fuller (Jason Morrison 66-), Luton Shelton

Attendance: 6,570

Match Officials: Match Referee: Mike Riley Assistant Referees: Peter Kirkup, Mike Tingey Fourth Official: Andre Marriner

FIFA World Cup 2006 Qualifiers   Saturday 12 November 2005 5th ranked South American v Australia - Venue TBC   Wednesday 16 November Australia v 5th ranked South American - Telstra Stadium, Sydney, 8pm

Public ticket sale commences Wednesday 19 October. Tickets can be purchased via Ticketek outlets, www.ticketek.com.au or by calling 132 849.

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