Taggart treble lifts Young Socceroos to victory

An Adam Taggart hat-trick has given the Qantas Young Socceroos a perfect send-off as they head to Turkey for the FIFA U20 World Cup.

The Qantas Young Socceroos completed their Australia-based preparations for the 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup in Turkey with a dominant 5-0 win over the Junior All Whites in an U-20 international friendly played at WIN Stadium in Wollongong today.

Adam Taggart was the star for the Qantas Young Socceroos, netting a hat trick for his country inside 47 minutes. Substitutes Jamie Maclaren and Ryan Edwards, both of whom play their club football in the United Kingdom, scored in the 64th and 76th minutes respectively to complete a comfortable afternoon for Australia.

The Qantas Young Socceroos began the match brightly and it took Taggart just four minutes to break the deadlock. Following determined work by attacker Connor Pain down the left, Taggart slid an accurate left foot shot beyond Kiwi custodian Scott Basalaj to give the Qantas Young Socceroos the lead.

If Taggart-s first of the afternoon was clinical, his second was simply sublime. Receiving the ball on the edge of the area, the youngster curled a fierce right foot shot into the top left corner of the goal to bring the crowd of 2,223 to their feet.

Shortly after the interval Taggart put the game out of the Junior All White-s reach with his third goal of the encounter. Substitute Jason Geria, who had replaced the injured Terry Antonis at the break, sent a crisp pass into the six-yard box that Taggart lashed home at the first time of asking.

Eager to put minutes into the legs of as many of his charges as possible Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Paul Okon rotated his side in the second stanza, introducing numerous substitutes into the game. It would be two of Okon-s fresh players who would round out the scoring for the Qantas Young Socceroos.

Midfielder Maclaren made his presence felt in the 64th minute when he rocketed a shot beyond Basalaj to make the score 4-0, while Edwards burst forward 77 minutes in before confidently stroking the ball around New Zealand-s number one to complete the afternoon-s goal action.

Following the game, Okon said he was delighted with the performance of his team in their second last preparation game prior to the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

“It-s the first time in a while we-ve come down and played some boys our own age, so we were really curious to see if we-ve made some steps forward (and) I think we have,” Okon said.

“We scored some great goals, and created a lot of chances. We leave tomorrow full of confidence and hopefully we can continue our preparations once we hit the ground in Turkey.”

Okon said the only issue within the camp ahead of the trip to Turkey was the injury cloud hanging over midfielder Terry Antonis. The youngster suffered a “quad-strain” in Wollongong, and will have a scan tomorrow prior to the team-s departure.

“That-s probably the only thing that-s hurting me at the moment,” Okon said of Antonis. “He-s an outstanding player and he-s looking forward to his second (under 20) World Cup.”

“At the moment it doesn-t look good. He-ll have a scan in the morning.”

The Qantas Young Socceroos depart for Turkey tomorrow for a pre-tournament training camp where they will play Chile-s U-20 Men-s National team in a friendly in Antalya on Monday 17 June before beginning their 2013 FIFA U20 World Cup campaign against Colombia in Trabzon on Saturday 22 June.

Qantas Young Socceroos 5 (Adam Taggart 4-/19-/47-, Jamie Maclaren 64-, Ryan Edwards 76-) defeated Junior All Whites 0 WIN Stadium, Wollongong