One Step Closer: Australia Beats Iraq, World Cup Within Sight

A third straight World Cup appearance looks very possible for Australia after a qualifiying win against Iraq.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

A win and another result that went their way made Tuesday a very successful day for Australia’s Socceroos as the national side edges slightly closer to another World Cup Finals appearance.

Needing a crucial win after last month’s shock loss to Jordan, Australia defeated Iraq 2-1 in their World Cup qualifier and moved into second spot in Group B of the Asia Zone, but it didn’t look good for the visitors initially.

A goalless first half turned ugly in the 72nd minute when Iraqi substitute Ala'a Abdul-Zahra put his side 1-0 ahead, but a well fought final 25 minutes saw the Socceroos come from behind and steal the win.

Socceroos star Tim Cahill banged home the equalising header in trademark style in the 80th minute on a corner cross from Matt McKay before substitutes Tommy Oar and Archie Thompson combined, also on a corner cross for a header, with the latter scoring the game winner.

Obviously, there was a lot to like about this game from an Aussie perspective, but the only downside was the pathetic turnout. The match was played in front of just 2000 fans.

Having only secured two points from the first three games Australia moves into second position with goal difference separating them and Oman. Japan leads the group with 10 points from four games.

Staying in second position will be crucial for the Socceroos. If they are to fall into third the road to the World Cup Finals will become infinitely tougher with a bunch of do-or-die games then needed to be won.

Third will play the other third positioned finisher in Group A with the winner then meeting the fifth placed finisher from the South American division in a second playoff match.

Tim Cahill’s aggressive attacking game made him man of the match.

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Follow Robert White on Twitter @RobertWhitebrrr.