Socceroos kick off campaign in style - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Socceroos kick off campaign in style

By Guy Hand 07/02/2008 05:56:53 AM Comments (0)

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek has praised his players for overcoming a difficult preparation to make a flying start to their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

The Socceroos produced their best football since the 2006 World Cup finals to open their first campaign through Asia with a 3-0 crushing of Qatar at Telstra Dome.

First half goals to Josh Kennedy, Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano set the Socceroos up for a comfortable victory as they played quality football far removed from their failed Asian Cup foray last year.

Long-serving defender Craig Moore announced his international retirement following the match after more than a decade playing for his country across two World Cup campaigns.

"We played a fantastic first half. We created chances, we scored great goals, we never gave them one chance," Verbeek said.

"(We played) exactly what we planned before the game. I'm very proud of what they did - quality was very high."

Verbeek was vindicated in his decision to call home his European-based players rather than field an A-League side as early as the 10th minute, when Germany-based Kennedy headed in the opener.

Eight minutes later Everton midfielder Cahill headed home a Luke Wilkshire corner to give the home side a buffer.

Cahill caused the Qatar defence grief throughout until he was substituted after 65 minutes, and could have had a hat-trick by halftime as the Socceroos piled on chance after chance.

Eventually the world No.88 Qataris were unlocked again after 33 minutes when Bresciano latched on to a Scott McDonald pass to slam home a third.

While the Socceroos understandably tired in the second half given the fact most of the starting 11 arrived less than 48 hours before kick-off, they always had the measure of a disappointing Qatar side.

The Socceroos must finish first or second in this group, which also includes China and Asian Cup champions Iraq, to advance to the next phase of World Cup qualifying.

Australia's next match is away to China on March 26.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2023 AAP

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