Cahill puts Socceroos on right course for World Cup

Australia began their first World Cup qualifying campaign through Asia with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Qatar at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne yesterday.

The Socceroos, who qualified for the 2006 World Cup through the Oceania group after defeating Uruguay in a penalty shoot-out, had too much firepower for a young Qatar side.

The striker Josh Kennedy and midfielders Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano scored first-half goals for Pim Verbeek's side to give them the ideal start to the 2010 campaign in Group One, which also includes Asian champions Iraq and China. "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."

The Australians, despite having a disjointed preparation with their mostly European-based squad filtering into Melbourne, took little time to settle with Cahill's side-footed shot well saved by the Qatar goalkeeper, Mohammed Sadr, in the sixth minute.

The home side, roared on by a near-capacity crowd of 50,969, exploited the width given to them by a hesitant Qatari defence, with Brett Emerton's 11th-minute cross met by Kennedy, who outjumped two defenders and nodded the ball past Sadr.

Cahill, who had missed an earlier chance, made amends in the 17th minute when he glanced a Luke Wilkshire corner past a hesitant Sadr.

Bresciano completed the scoring in the 33rd minute when he slotted home Scott McDonald's superbly weighted square ball after the Qatari defence had bungled a clearance.

The home side had numerous chances in the second half but failed to add to their score. They also lost concentration several times and were lucky to keep a clean sheet, particularly when the Qatar substitute Mesaad Al Hamad missed an open goal after they had caught Australia on the counter-attack.

The match then fizzled out with Mark Schwarzer barely troubled again in the home goal, while the Australia substitute John Aloisi scuffed his shot while one-on-one against Sadr.

"It was a good win and we knew we were going to get tired later so it was important we scored early to open the game up a little bit," said the hosts' captain, Lucas Neill. "We scored some really good goals. It's a pity we couldn't score again to kill the game off."

In Saitama, Japan beat Thailand 4-1 in freezing conditions to win their opening World Cup qualifier.

Thailand's players, accustomed to tropical heat, were given little chance with snow falling in Saitama, but they made life difficult for Japan in the first half.

The midfielder Yasuhito Endo gave Japan the lead in the 21st minute with a superb curling free-kick from 30 metres. However, Thailand stunned the home side by equalising within a minute when the forward Teerathep Winothai smashed a ferocious shot past Japan's keeper Yoshikatsu Kawaguchi from the edge of the box.

Japan, booed off at halftime by the crowd of 35,000, went back in front 10 minutes after the interval when the striker Yoshito Okubo prodded home from close range after an attempted Thai clearance ricocheted into his path.

Thailand had acclimatised for the wintry Japanese weather with a training camp at Manchester City, but Okubo's freak goal effectively ended the visitors' resistance.

Things got worse for Thailand when Narongchai Vachiraban was sent off before Japan's defender Yuji Nakazawa made the points safe by heading the home side's third. The substitute Seiichiro Maki added a fourth in injury time.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test