Australia reach fourth World Cup in a row


Mile Jedinak was the unlikely goal hero as Australia claimed the 31st ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ with a 3-1 win over Honduras.

Qualification will hand Milligan and the ageless Tim Cahill the opportunity to appear at their fourth consecutive World Cup and feature among a select group of players who have done the same - but the Melbourne Victory midfielder was quick to play down his chances.

Maynor Figueroa pulled a goal back in the fourth minute of stoppage time, scrambling home from a corner, but it was of little consolation to a Honduras side who will watch from the sidelines as Australia take on the world at Russian Federation 2018.

He made a pledge to the Australian public that he would lead the team until the end of their World Cup journey, which we now know will be in Russian Federation next year, so for him to leave the job now would be like leaving a sandwich half-eaten, it is grotesque and simply unnecessary - after all, he was the one who ordered the sandwich.

Postecoglu's journey with the Socceroos is not over, he took over an ageing side in 2014 and revolutionised the national team by taking a squad full of youth and inexperience to the World Cup in Brazil, a move that was heavily criticised at the time.

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Australia become the 31st country out of 32 nations to qualify for Russian Federation 2018.

Jedinak stepped up to the spot to complete his hat-trick, although there is lingering doubt over whether the captain's first was put down as an own-goal to Figueroa.

Tim Cahill, who missed that match with an ankle injury, started as a lone striker but his team mates were unable to present him with any clear-cut chances to notch up his 51st global goal.

That aside, Aaron Mooy's set-piece deliveries provided Australia's main threat but Honduras, while offering nearly nothing in attack, survived reasonably comfortably until the break.

Australia make the breakthrough eight minutes into the second half when Jedinak's free-kick from just outside the penalty area took a massive deflection off substitute Henry Figueroa to beat a wrong-footed Escober.

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The nervous wait for an opening goal ended seven minutes into the second half when Rogic finally put together one of his trademark mazy runs and was brought down on the edge of the penalty box.

The 77,060 crowd had barely retaken their seats when Cahill nearly doubled the lead with a header from the edge of the penalty area that landed on Escober's crossbar.

The midfield was bossed by a two-pronged Australian base of Jedinak and Milligan, who said that a place in the finals in Russian Federation was a just reward for the Socceroos' hard work after they missed out on automatic qualification.

Again, it was from the spot after a clear foul by Jerry Palacios on Robbie Kruse, with Jedinak outfoxing Escober on this occasion with a penalty drilled straight down the middle.

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