Sports

Defeat to Australia ends Jordan's dream

June 15, 2021
Australia made it eight wins from eight to cap a perfect Asian Qualifiers Second Round campaign, earning a 1-0 victory which extinguished Jordan’s hopes of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Tuesday. — Courtesy photo
Australia made it eight wins from eight to cap a perfect Asian Qualifiers Second Round campaign, earning a 1-0 victory which extinguished Jordan’s hopes of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Tuesday. — Courtesy photo

KUWAIT CITY — Australia made it eight wins from eight to cap a perfect Asian Qualifiers Second Round campaign, earning a 1-0 victory which extinguished Jordan’s hopes of qualifying for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on Tuesday.

The sixth goal in five matches from defender Harry Souttar secured victory for the Socceroos, with the Stoke City man rising highest to head home a corner kick in the 77th minute, dashing Jordan’s bid to qualify for the Third Round as one of the best-placed runners-up.

Australia’s perfect tally of 24 points marks their best-ever start to an Asian Qualifiers campaign and keeps alive their bid of reaching a fifth successive FIFA World Cup Finals.

Already through to the next round, Australian head coach Graham Arnold had urged his side to view the match as a “final” after a highly successful sojourn in Kuwait, while Jordan — who needed to win to boost their chances of Qatar 2022 survival — had no need to amplify the stakes.

The Socceroos signaled their intent when a marauding Jackson Irvine fired the first shot over the crossbar within four minutes, but Jordan hit back when Yousef Al Rawshdeh narrowly missed with a direct free-kick two minutes later.

Jordan succeeded in becoming the first team in the group to prevent Australia from scoring an early goal, but it was the Socceroos who remained the team most likely for most of the first half, with Ajdin Hrustic and Martin Boyle trying their luck without success before the interval arrived without a goal.

For Vital Borkelmans’ Jordan, the adage of “no news is good news” didn’t apply, and the need for a moment of magic grew as the second half minutes continued to tick by early without the breakthrough they needed to continue their bid to reach a first FIFA World Cup.

Their task became considerably more difficult with 13 minutes remaining, when Souttar — a towering defender who has proven almost impossible to stop from set-pieces in these Qualifiers — continued his golden run, nodding home yet another goal from a corner kick, and putting Australia 1-0 up.

Tempers boiled over in the latter stages, with Jordan’s Mousa Al Taamari sent off for violent conduct following an off-the-ball incident involving Aziz Behich as Al Nashama’s World Cup dream came to an end.

Australia can now turn their attention to challenges ahead on the Road to Qatar, while Jordan’s focus switches to their bid to secure a place at AFC Asian Cup China 2023. — Agencies


June 15, 2021
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