Jedinak’s heroics sends the Socceroos to the World Cup
After two-and-a-half years of hard work and thousands of accrued frequent flyer miles as the Socceroos criss-crossed the globe, a place in next year’s World Cup in Russia is the Socceroos’ prize, thanks to an emphatic 3-1 victory over Honduras at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
How they only just barely scraped past Syria, and the agonies endured on their way in Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Japan, can all be discussions for another day. After an emphatic 3-1 home victory over a travel-exhausted but brave Honduras team, ensuring qualification was all that mattered. For that, they can thank their fearless leader, Mile Jedinak.
Jedinak – Captain Courageous
Jedinak, the Aussie skipper, forced a 53rd minute Honduran own goal with a thundering free kick, before sealing the win with penalties in the 71st and 85th minutes.
Jedinak deserved to be credited with a hat-trick, however, the official scorer ruled his first effort an own goal after taking a deflection off a defender.
However, it was his leadership rather than his goals that mattered most. The Socceroos’ ‘Captain Fantastic’ ruled the midfield, making it his own and was impassable. He played so deep in marshalling the midfield that he was almost part of the back three. All of this despite coming into camp in Honduras without a full match under his belt in in five months.
Coach Postecoglou’s attacking tactics pay off
Jedinak’s deep midfield play allowed the Socceroos to push forward in numbers with often as many as six players being thrown forward. It was only a matter of time until the travel weary Honduras begun to buckle under the weight of jet-lag and Australia’s willingness to run them ragged.
Once again, the Australian attack was a little sloppy and wasteful, but in the end, it didn’t matter. A defiant Ange Postecoglou and his team of brave bit-part players now have something that even a proud footballing nation like Italy don’t have, a ticket to the biggest show in football, the World Cup Finals, where Brazil and France are early joint favourites with Betfair.