Australia crush Jordan to near World Cup spot
Exciting young winger Robbie Kruse inspired Australia's old guard to a thumping 4-0 win over Jordan which put them within sight of next year's World Cup on Tuesday.
Germany-based Kruse set up 30-somethings Mark Bresciano and Tim Cahill and then grabbed an eye-catching goal of his own, before veteran skipper Lucas Neill rounded off the scoring with his first ever international goal.
The much-needed win lifted the Socceroos to the second automatic qualifying spot in Group B with one game to go, meaning a home victory over Iraq next week will ensure their ticket to Brazil and their third World Cup in a row.
"Wonderful," said Kruse, 24, who is headed from Fortuna Dusseldorf to Bayer Leverkusen and Champions League football next season.
"To get the win was excellent... it puts us in a good position going into the next game." He added: "It was fantastic to get four goals, and we could have had a few more."
Coach Holger Osieck said he felt "pretty sure" Australia now had the momentum to beat Iraq and get to Brazil. Jordan and Australia had been locked on seven points each before Tuesday's game.
"You can never dream of a score like 4-0 but I think the overall performance was excellent," he said.
But the German warned there would be no celebrations yet, noting: "We have to focus on the next game."
The opening few minutes, in front of a 43,785 crowd at Melbourne's Docklands Stadium, were tense but Australia soon threatened when Jordan 'keeper Amer Shafia denied Brett Holman from inside the box after 14 minutes.
Bresciano blazed the rebound high and wide, but barely a minute later he made no mistake with his second chance of the night, connecting with Kruse's short cross to stab in from six yards out.
Kruse had danced clear of the defence when referee Abdul Malik Bashir played the advantage after a foul on the right touchline. Jordan froze momentarily, allowing Bresciano to claim his 13th goal for his country.
Kruse was the danger man and Khalil Bani Ateyah was booked for bringing down the rampant right winger, before Cahill had a penalty shout turned down when he went over in the box after 26 minutes.
Jordan enjoyed plenty of possession but lacked a cutting edge and were restricted to long-range efforts. Ahmed Hayel picked up a loose ball and fired a fine shot just wide after 27 minutes.
Coach Adnan Hamad had billed it as the biggest match in Jordan's history as they seek a first ever World Cup berth, but the visitors never looked like repeating their home wins against Japan and the Socceroos earlier in qualifying.
As half-time approached, midfielder Holman was bowled over 25 yards out by Anas Bani Yaseen. Bresciano stepped up again and Shafia did well to hold the low, swerving shot.
The second half was nearly all one-way traffic and when Cahill powerfully headed home Kruse's cross after 60 minutes, the result looked secure.
Jordan tried to push forward but only exposed their defence, and with another flowing break Kruse cut in from the right, nutmegged a defender and drove home after 76 minutes. Eight minutes later, Neill nodded in a close-range header.
Jordan need to beat Oman in Amman next Tuesday to have a chance of a play-off place.
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