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Iraq vs Australia

FIFA World Cup - 2014 Qualifiers - Asian Region - Final Round - Group B - Match 4
Iraq vs Australia
at Grand Hamad Stadium, Doha, Qatar on 2012-10-16T14:30:00
Score: 1-2 (0-0)
Scorers: Tim Cahill (80'), Archie Thompson (84')
Official Info: FIFA Details
Previous Match: Jordan vs Australia
Next Match: Republic of Korea vs Australia

After a lacklustre first half from both teams, Australia looked to be getting on top in the second and pressing for the win. Then disaster, caught on the break and down 0-1 with 15 minutes to go. Almost miraculously we turned it around in five minutes when Tim Cahill (who else) headed home, followed by Archie Thompson with his third goal in three games. A priceless away win that sees us climb to second spot in the group at the half-way stage of the final round.

Oman did us a big favour by defeating Jordan 2-1 (while Japan went down 0-4 to Brazil in a friendly). This has allowed us to scrape into 2nd-place on the table on goal difference. Our run home is relatively easily though. Japan away, but we play the other three weaker teams at home. If we can collect 7 or 9 points from those games we're home and hosed. Realistically we should get the job done from here.

But the signs are not that great on the field. Iraq offerred very little in this match and we really struggled to put them away. We looked unimaginative in the first half with only Kruse and occasionally Holman offering something interesting. Iraq's tall back line dealt comfortably with far too many long balls. In the second half we pressed for a goal and created a couple of good chances. Only to be inexplicably caught napping at the back and punished for it. The comeback was well executed and in line with the run of play. But we came perilously close to a loss or a draw which would have made qualifying very tough. Mathematically possible to be sure, but any slip could have left us requiring a win over Japan away or unable to get the results to reach 2nd spot. Thankfully we're in a strong position to qualify now. But what are we to do about the squad?