Fit-again captain Mile Jedinak helps Australia seal World Cup qualification

Fit-again captain Mile Jedinak helps Australia seal World Cup qualification
From ESPN - November 15, 2017

SYDNEY -- Australia booked their place at the 2018 World Cup after a convincing 3-1 win over Honduras in Sydney on Wednesday night. Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak was the hero for the hosts, scoring all three goals for Australia, including two from the penalty spot.

Here are three thoughts from the match.

1. First half bore, second half score

Is that harsh on the first 45 minutes? Perhaps Australia's endeavour was on show for a few moments in the first half, with golden chances for Mathew Leckie and Tom Rogic left unrewarded. But as far as inspiring lovers of the beautiful game, Wednesday's playoff followed the same turgid path as many others this week. The lack of snappy defence-turned-attack left much for Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou to ponder at the break.

The Hondurans, too, never really looked like breaking the first-half stalemate. Their constantly animated coach, Jorge Luis Pinto, would have been the more-satisfied of the two coaches 45 minutes in, with his team still well in with a chance of causing an upset.

Come the second half, though, whatever Postecoglou said in the locker room worked. The Australians looked like a completely different outfit right from the start. The 77,000-strong crowd knew it and were on their feet.

And, after Jedinak struck the free kick which eventually broke the deadlock via a deflection, Postecoglou's planning and strategy was executed.

2. Jedinak back with a bang


Continue reading at ESPN »