Thu, Nov 16, 12:06pm by Head Editor
Australia will be heading to a fourth consecutive World Cup, largely thanks to their captain Mile Jedinak, who scored twice from the penalty spot, and was unlikely not finish the game with a hat-trick, after his deflected free-kick was ruled an own-goal in the 53rd minute.
That own-goal opened the scoring for the hosts, in front of a parochial Aussie crowd, a full-house at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium.
Honduras started the game well, pressing high, with plenty of energy in the opening ten minutes, but from then on, there was only going to be one winner, with the Australian’s finishing the game with 72% of possession.
The second goal came in the 71st minute, when Honduras’ Bryan Acosta handled the ball. Jedinak slotted home the spot kick, just as he did 14 minutes later, when substitute Robbie Kruse was brought down in the box after bursting through a fatigued Honduras defence.
That third goal sent the stadium into party mode as reality set in that Australia had won their biggest qualifier for 12 years. Los Catrachos did get their away goal, but it came way too late, Alberth Elis bundled home a consolation goal. While the crowd didn’t seem to mind, Aussie shot-stopper Mat Ryan wasn’t pleased that he gave up a clean sheet with just seconds on the clock.
The Socceroos have been assessed as a $201 chance to win next year’s World Cup in Russia.
The Australian’s head to next year’s showpiece as big outsiders, which is also the case for New Zealand, when they take the pitch in Lima, Peru on Thursday at 1:15pm AEDT. $15 is on offer for an All Whites win, while the hosts are in at $1.17.
That match is the last 2018 World Cup qualifier, with the winner becoming the 32nd and final nation to secure their place in a World Cup that will be without several big footballing nations, including Italy, Chile, Holland and the USA.
The Socceroos will find out who they’ll be facing at the World Cup on December 1, when FIFA conducts its draw. Ange Postecoglou and his charges will be hoping for better luck than they recieved four years ago, when they were grouped with South American champions Chile, the Netherlands and the defending champion at that time, Spain.
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