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Socceroos vs Oman, FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers, news, scores, player ratings, Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, video

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The Socceroos outlasted Oman in a gripping and often scrappy World Cup qualifier, to extend Australia’s record to a remarkable world-first 11-straight victories.

The Australians were fortunate to have conceded just the single goal in the 3-1 win given some defensive woes, while a number of players were guilty of sloppiness in possession.

Here’s how we rated every player in the milestone win.

READ MORE: Socceroos pass tough test to clinch record 11th-straight win on road to Qatar WC

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Mabil lashes home early opener! | 00:27

Socceroos XI (4-2-3-1): Mat Ryan, Rhyan Grant, Trent Sainsbury, Harry Souttar, Aziz Behich, Jackson Irvine, Ajdin Hrustic, Tom Rogic, Martin Boyle, Awer Mabil, Adam Taggart.

Mat Ryan – 7.5

Ryan was forced into a trio of tough saves in the first half, parrying dangerous attempts from Zahir Al Aghbari. There was nothing the Australian gloveman could do about the goal, but he did well to save a tough one-on-one in the second period, and ran out of his box and chested away a tricky long ball as part of his sweeper duties. Looked assured despite the constant threat Australia was facing on the counter. His passing, usually so dependable, was unusually error-prone.

Rhyan Grant – 5

Grant failed to have his usual impact charging down the sideline going forward, particularly in the first half. He was guilty of giving away possession too easily – as were many of his teammates – and was also caught out of position by attackers more than once. He was marking striker Khalid Hajri when he teed up Rabia Al-Mandhar for Oman’s goal, and could have done better to clear the danger.

Grant’s tireless work was crucial in setting up the second goal for the Aussies, as he forced a defender into a poor pass that went straight to Rogic in Oman’s defensive third.

Trent Sainsbury – 5

Australia’s defence was uncharacteristically nervous in the first half, and could easily have conceded three or four goals had Oman been more clinical. As the veteran central defender, Sainsbury must carry some of the burden for the disorganised back line.

He was physical and gritty as ever, but won just won of his six duels and was beaten on and off the ball too often. His finest moment came on the brink of halftime as he shut down a dangerous counter-attack, shielding the ball inside his own box for Ryan to dive on it.

Harry Souttar – 5.5

Not Souttar’s finest outing – although the same can be said of just about every Socceroos player. Souttar was well beaten by the first touch from Al-Mandhar for the goal, suckered into moving his body to block the feint and then unable to block the shot. But take nothing away from the goal itself, which was a lovely touch and unstoppable finish. Souttar was also caught out in the 64th minute when Al-Mandhar was again played through on goal with a lovely lobbed ball, and the towering defender was lucky that the one-on-one attempt was saved by Ryan.

To his credit, Souttar made a couple of key interceptions and diving blocks, and was imperious in the air.

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Aziz Behich was constantly under pressure but was always looking to attack.
Aziz Behich was constantly under pressure but was always looking to attack.Source: AFP

Aziz Behich – 6

Back in the line-up with Brad Smith out with Covid-19, Behich got higher up the field than Grant but often failed to take advantage of his position. His combination with Awer Mabil left a little to be desired. Both launched a host of balls into the box but their delivery was disappointing. Behich did well enough defensively but failed to really grab the opportunity to cement his place as the first choice left back.

Jackson Irvine – 5.5

Irvine is still adapting to his deeper midfield role than we have seen in previous years. Some aspects of his performance in that regard were very pleasing – his tough tackling and reading of the game to break up play were all positive. He made four interceptions and a couple of key tackles, but won just three of his 11 duels.

In an extremely congested midfield his passing radar was subpar and he coughed up the ball too cheaply. Earned a 78th-minute yellow card and was subbed two minutes later.

Jackson Irvine battled hard.Source: Getty Images

Ajdin Hrustic – 6.5

Hrustic loves bursting forward through the midfield and unsettling defences, but Oman’s disciplined midfield largely stifled that run. After a slow start he fought his way into the match. He had easily the most touches in the game, and his passing percentage was the highest of any starter (93.6%). He also won an impressive 8 of 11 duels, the most of any player.

Tom Rogic – 5.5

He probably would have hoped for more on the special occasion of his 50th appearance in the green and gold.

His passing was very poor – making just two-thirds of his 21 attempts, and he struggled to find space to get on the ball often enough. But Rogic has the ability to create moments of magic, setting up the second goal with a perfect cutback for Adam Taggart through a defender’s legs. Taken off after 63 minutes.

Martin Boyle – 7

Boyle’s confidence and great form was on full display. His bravery to launch throw himself at the ball for his goal – and potentially cop a boot to the face – was the kind of effort that managers love. He ran hard and pressed well from the front, and he could have easily had a penalty for a push in the back. Graham Arnold said of his performance: “He truly believes in himself a lot and he is a poacher. I couldn’t be happier.”

Should have done better when he was charging towards goal in the second half and failed to pass to his two unmarked teammates. His four corners were poor.

Martin Boyle couldn’t convert this strong opportunity.Source: Getty Images

Awer Mabil – 7.5

Mabil scored with the very first shot of the game in the ninth minute. His first touch took him out of reach of two defenders, his second a vicious half-volley which beat the keeper despite the gloveman getting a hand to the ball. It was Mabil’s sixth goal in 20 Socceroos appearances – a strong return – and he continues to develop apace in his all-round ability. Arnold said after the match: “Awer Mabil is going up higher and higher at his level of the game.”

His crossing underwhelmed, and he should have added a second goal when he headed wide of the back post from six yards out in the second half.

Adam Taggart – 6

With a deep Oman defensive block offering him little time or space, it was hard for Taggart to get involved. He took three shots – one of which rebounded to Boyle to score – but he’ll be disappointed at failing to find the scoresheet. His work off the ball was good, with neat diagonal runs to open up space.

Aaron Mooy worked hard to help Australia control the ball.Source: Getty Images

SUBSTITUTES

Aaron Mooy – 6.5

The game changed when Mooy entered the field as the tempo slowed, Australia enjoyed longer spells of possession, and the frenzied sloppiness of the first half calmed. His influence also allowed Hrustic to push forward. Mooy passed reasonably well, made an interception and four recoveries, and did exactly what Arnold would have expected in his 27 minutes on the park.

Mitch Duke – 6.5

Threw himself into everything that came his way, ruffling a few feathers of the opposition defence and drawing their full attention – which helped his teammates find greater opportunities. Ran very hard and his high pressing from the top of the defence was crucial to seeing off the game. Scored once with all the calmness and composure we’ve come to expect from him, but could certainly have scored another when a Fran Karacic cross found his head in the six-yard box.

Fran Karacic – 7.5

Ten minutes, one assist (with his only pass of the game) and Karacic could have had another with a well-weighted cross. You can’t ask for much more, really. Sure, Oman had slowed down and gifted him plenty of time on the ball, but Karacic wasted no time once he entered the fray. Very willing to get forward and into the box, and looked sharp after missing last month’s clashes due to injury. Could well be in contention to start against Japan.

Jimmy Jeggo – 5.5

Came on for the final 10 minutes, and kept things settled but hardly had a touch.

Chris Ikonomidis – 5.5

With just five minutes on the park, Ikonomidis was involved in the third goal when he teed up Karacic to make the assist for Duke. Just the second A-League player in the squad behind Rhyan Grant, who remained in Scotland and trained with Boyle at Hibernian ever since last month’s matches. Very hard to see Awer Mabil or Martin Boyle losing their starting roles, but depth in the wide positions could be crucial going forward.

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Socceroos 2022 World Cup qualifying, Australia vs Oman, Australia vs Japan, standings, world ranking, news, scores, analysis, video

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After earning more than his fair share of criticism over the years, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has delivered a massive statement to the football world by guiding Australia to a world record.

After a gritty 3-1 win over Oman, the Socceroos now turn to a blockbuster clash with Japan – but there’s plenty of reason to believe Australia can claim a first-ever win on Japanese soil.

Meanwhile, Australia have racked up the goals in recent games – but the striking role still offers Arnold a significant selection headache. Luckily, there’s one reason he can rest easy at night over his side’s attack.

Here are all big talking points after the Socceroos win over Oman!

Ryan saves sloppy defence as milestone man struggles: Roo Player Ratings

Socceroos pass tough test to clinch record 11th-straight win on road to Qatar WC

Mabil lashes home early opener! | 00:27

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ARNIE ANSWERS HIS CRITICS – AND BUILDS HIS LEGACY

It’s easy to underestimate this morning’s victory over Oman as insignificant – as just another step in the road to the World Cup, another expected win over a team ranked 45-odd places below Australia. The 3-1 final score makes it easier to downplay the tough task the Socceroos faced. But this match will go down in history, and hopefully this team will too.

The Socceroos became the first team to ever win 11 consecutive matches in one World Cup qualifying campaign. They surpass three iconic nations – Germany (Russia 2018), Spain (South Africa 2010), and Mexico (Germany 2006) as teams which claimed 10-straight wins.

10 of the Socceroos’ 11 victories came away from home.

The team has been forced to overcome an 18-month Covid hiatus and the subsequent inability of many Australian-based players to travel overseas. One of Australia’s first-choice strikers in Jamie Maclaren (five goals in his last five caps) hasn’t featured in the latest three games. Two players – Brad Smith then Milos Degenek – were ruled out of today’s clash due to Covid-19. The Socceroos have overcome all the obstacles and are in a strong position to reach a fifth-straight World Cup. 20 years ago, that would have felt like an impossible pipe dream.

Much of the credit must go to Graham Arnold. Today’s win was his 16th from 21 matches in charge of the Socceroos since taking over after the disappointing 2018 Russia World Cup. At over 76 per cent, that is the greatest win percentage of any permanent Socceroos manager (not including his former time as interim Australia boss in 2006-07, and excluding the games where Les Scheinflug was caretaker manager). Arguably even more importantly, he has introduced plenty of young players to the international stage and turned the Socceroos into an entertaining, attacking force. His influence is far greater than just the wins he’s racking up.

Arnold has copped plenty of criticism over the years in the A-League, as the Socceroos’ interim manager 15 years ago, for his brief stint in Japan, or his leadership of the Olyroos and other underage representative sides. But his record – and this remarkable 11-game record – should silence many of the critics.

He now has three key tasks to cement his legacy in Australian football. The first is to finish the job and qualify for the World Cup. The second is to perform well in the Cup itself – making it out of the group stage must be the immediate aim. The third is to win the Asian Cup, ensuring Australia regains its place at the top of the continent.

These are lofty goals. But, as Arnold so often says, he expects and demands great things of this team. If the Socceroos continue to play – and win – as they have in recent years, those expectations will only continue to rise.

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There was plenty of reason for celebration.
There was plenty of reason for celebration.Source: Getty Images

JAPAN’S DIRE STRAITS OFFERS ROO-GE OPPORTUNITY

When the draw for this stage of World Cup qualifying was announced, all eyes immediately were drawn to one fixture. Australia vs Japan on matchday four. Two of the biggest footballing nations in Asia. A rematch of THAT 2006 World Cup classic, or of the 2011 Asian Cup Final. The Socceroos haven’t beaten Japan since June 2009 (yes, really) and have never beaten the Samurai Blue on home soil.

But now the tables have turned. Australia is in red-hot form. Japan are struggling far more than anyone predicted in this stage of qualifying. They have now lost two games – 1-0 to Oman, and 1-0 to Saudi Arabia – and are already six points behind Australia and Saudi Arabia. With Oman and China also level on three points, defeat could leave Japan facing the stunning reality of potentially missing out on qualification from the group.

It is poised to be an absolute classic. And should Australia win on Tuesday night, the Socceroos (currently #32) might just overtake Japan (#26) on the world rankings and claim the moniker of Asia’s second-ranked team behind Iran.

Japan have lost two of their past three matches.Source: AFP

ROOS’ SECRET WEAPON DESPITE STRIKER HEADACHE

In their 11-win streak, the Socceroos have scored 35 goals and conceded just three. Usually, they have been exceptional defensively – but at times, such as against Oman, they rode their luck and could or should have conceded more.

But it is going forward that the Socceroos are most fascinating. Of the current Socceroos squad, no player has 10 international goals or more. Only Mat Leckie (out of the current squad due to Australia’s border restrictions) crosses the double-digit mark with 13 goals from 65 caps.

The centre-forward role is the position that appears to give Graham Arnold the greatest headache when he picks his starting 11. Adam Taggart has six goals from 15 international appearances, but hasn’t scored this year. Duke now has six in 12, including four in six appearances this year. Two of those have come in the last three games, coming on as a substitute for less than half an hour and sealing the game. Arnold appears likely to continue to unleash him off the bench, given his physicality and energy is so influential when opponents are tired.

Jamie Maclaren (stuck in Australia) has just six goals in 18 international appearances, but his record in recent years has been significantly better – six goals in 10 games under Arnold. All three are strong options going forward, and offer different advantages.

Ikonomidis’ late cameo keeps him in the conversation, while Leckie is also a dependable choice in the centre of the attack or out wide. And Daniel Arzani has also said that he is transitioning into a more central role so could be a surprise choice up front in the future.

While Arnold’s centre-forwards aren’t breaking scoring records anytime soon, Arnold doesn’t have to worry too much. The Socceroos are scoring a ton, and they’re just coming from all over the park. In the seven matches this year, there have been eleven different scorers: three defenders, three midfielders, and five forwards.

Martin Boyle couldn’t beat the keeper with his feet – so he turned to Australia’s secret weapon.Source: Getty Images

And there’s one particularly notable weapon in the Australian arsenal. Of the 35 goals in the 11 games, nearly half – 16 in all – have come via headers. Today it was Martin Boyle’s diving header from less than six yards. Two more great headed chances – one from Awer Mabil, the other from Mitch Duke – could well have added to that tally. And those three chances were all from open play. The delivery from wide free kicks and corners was poor – and even more headed goals could come if that is improved.

The Socceroos’ wingers and fullbacks love to bomb forward and launch cross after cross into the heart of the opponent’s box. It’s not necessarily the most efficient tactic but it works on quantity alone – only one or two need to pay off per game to keep that winning streak alive.

For now, Arnold will be hoping his side keep scoring as a unit, to keep the pressure off his striking corps. And he’ll surely keep heading practice front and centre of the training schedule.

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Thomas Tuchel may regret £17m Chelsea transfer that could cost Roman Abramovich double

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Thomas Tuchel may be kicking himself over one Chelsea departure.

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