Following the Socceroos' 3-1 win over Oman, Australia’s players and Head Coach Graham Arnold shared their thoughts on becoming the first team ever to win 11 consecutive games in a single FIFA World Cup qualification campaign.
The Socceroos remain in pole position at the top of Group B after victory in Doha as they look to secure a passage to our nation's fifth-straight FIFA World Cup Finals.
Not only did the win over Oman secure three crucial points, but it also saw the side jump above the 10-game winning streak record they had previously shared with Germany (Russia 2018), Spain (South Africa 2010) and Mexico (Germany 2006).
The Socceroos got off to the perfect start in the match through Awer Mabil as he opened the scoring with the first shot of the game after pouncing on a loose ball in the box and slamming a powerful shot into the net from close range.
Mabil once again linked up expertly with fellow left sider and teammate Aziz Behich, who he was full of praise for after the match.
“It feels really nice, a lot of thanks needs to go to my guy behind me Aziz – he told me before the match that I would score, so the goal is dedicated also to Aziz,” Mabil explained post-match.
“It’s very special and it's nice to score, wearing the #11 shirt of course, but we have a strong team, and we'll keep building.
The most important thing is always to win and every time we go on the field, we must fight to win, no matter what.
“There were periods of the game where we had to regroup, we did that and we came together to get the three points.”
It was not all smooth sailing for the Socceroos, who were made to work for their victory at the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar.
The two sides went into the halftime break all square after Al Mandhar Al Alawi whipped an unbeatable shot past Mat Ryan and into the top corner.
While it ended Australia’s run of clean sheets in four games, Martin Boyle was on hand to restore the Socceroos lead just after the restart.
When Adam Taggart fired a shot straight at Oman goalkeeper Faiyz Al Rusheidi, Boyle bravely threw himself at the ball to head home from close range.
“I can’t really remember much, I can just remember flying through the air,” Boyle said.
I thought he was going to take my head off a little bit, but you have to be brave and get in the there for the header.
“That’s how you score goals, you’ve got to be in that position.”
Boyle’s goal was part of a much improved second half for the Socceroos, as they managed to grab hold of the game and secure the three points.
An 89th-minute goal sealed the deal for the Green and Gold, with substitute Mitchell Duke expertly finishing inside the six-yard box after being picked out by fellow substitute Fran Karacic.
While Socceroos boss Arnold praised his goalscorers in his post-match interview, he said there were still areas of their game they must improve on.
“We got dragged into an erratic game but once we got the boys in at halftime and settled down, we concentrated more on keeping the ball and making them chase it,” Arnold said.
“Dukey comes on and brings so much energy, Awer is going up higher and higher in his level every time he plays for us and Boyley’s a poacher.”
The Socceroos face Japan on Tuesday night (AEDT) in Saitama as they look to gain another three points and cement their position in Group B.