Thu, Jun 28, 8:42am by Head Editor
For the third consecutive time, it was a group stage exit for the Socceroos, with Australia’s campaign coming to an end at Russia 2018 with a 2-0 loss to Peru.
The Australians dominated the first 15 minutes but were unable to make it count on the scoreboard, with both Mat Leckie and Tom Juric having shots blocked in the opening quarter of an hour.
Overall the green and gold had 14 shots on goal to Peru’s four, but Los Incas made two of those count, including a contentious opener in the 18th minute.
Despite replays showing Peru striker, Paolo Guerrero, to be a in front of Aussie defender Mark Milligan, in an offside position, the VAR was not used, and moments later André Carrillo drilled in a thunderbolt past the defences of Matt Ryan.
After conceding that goal, the South American’s settled into the match and when Paolo Guerrero scored in the 50th minute, also against the run of play, Bert van Marwijk’s side were heading home.
Tim Cahill was given his first opportunity of the tournament in the 53rd minute, and while he made his presence felt, the delivery he received was not good enough to see him score at a fourth consecutive World Cup.
His former teammate at Melbourne City, Daniel Arzani, impressed again, with several tantalising runs in midfield, but once again, the quality in the final third is what cost the Socceroos.
Former Sydney FC boss Graham Arnold will now take the reins as coach of an Australian side who must regroup ahead of January’s Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Australia are on the fourth line of betting to defend their Asian Championship, at $7.25, behind fellow World Cup combatants, Japan ($5.75), Iran ($5.85) and South Korea ($6.85).
Considering that South Korea knocked defending World Champions Germany out of the World Cup on Thursday morning, their price may well shorten. Japan can book their place in the round of 16 for the third time with a draw against Poland on Thursday night (AEST).
Samurai Blue are $2.60 favourites, just ahead of the Poles ($2.80), while the all-important draw is at $3.25. It may well be a very different Socceroos XI that takes the field in the opening Asian Cup match against Jordan on January 6 at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.
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