Australia face a fight to reach the
World Cup after they slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat away to
Jordan on Tuesday, producing a pitiful performance which coach
Holger Osieck described as an enormous disappointment.
The atmosphere at the King Abdullah Stadium in Amman was
electric after outsiders Jordan, thrashed 6-0 by Japan in June,
claimed an unlikely win thanks to second-half goals by Hassan
Abdel-Fattah Mahmoud and Amer Deeb.
Australia pulled a goal back through substitute Archie
Thompson late on but poor finishing and frantic defending
allowed Jordan to claim the memorable win.
Jordan are now in second place on four points in Group B and
in one of the pool's two automatic qualifying berths for a place
at the finals in Brazil in 2014.
Australia have two points from three matches and are level
with Iraq and Oman in the standings, eight points behind Asian
"The disappointment is enormous," Australia coach Holger
Osieck told Fox Sports. "We had a very, very poor first half.
"We didn't get into the game, our passing was a disaster, we
never could get into our normal rhythm. We played a lot of long
balls and I don't know why that happened."
The Socceroos next face a tricky trip to Qatar to play 2007
Asian champions Iraq and will have to show far more fight and
creativity if they want to reach the finals in Brazil.
Towering Socceroos defender Sasa Ognenovski had to leave the
field after only 14 minutes with an injury, forcing Osieck into
an early reshuffle and Jordan's high-tempo game unsettled the
Australians without creating clear chances.
That changed in the 48th minute when Jordan forward Odai
Al-Saify skipped down the left and was felled in the penalty
area as he cut back inside Mile Jedinak.
Qatari Abdullah Balideh gave the penalty despite the
theatrics of Al-Saify who kissed and smacked the turf in delight
before Mahmoud slotted the spot-kick past goalkeeper Mark
Jordan retreated and allowed Australia to dictate play
before the home side produced a stunning counter to grab a
Al-Saify led a breakout and skipped around Lucas Neill
before cutting the ball back for Deeb to fire in at the near
post in the 77th minute.
The Australians, who slumped to a 0-0 draw away to Oman in
their opening qualifier, were rattled and Jordan should have had
a third but Deeb clipped his shot just over the bar.
Jedinak smacked the post with a long-range drive as the
visitors struggled to find the creative spark required and
relied on hopeful balls into the area.
Substitute Thompson, who once scored 13 goals in a World Cup
qualifier against American Samoa, pulled one back for the
visitors with five minutes to go after he fired a right foot
shot past Shafia.
The goal set up a nervy finale with AFC Vice-president
Prince Ali Bin Al-Hussein amongst those home fans unable to
watch. But after Robbie Kruse wasted one good chance, Jordan
held firm and the world's 87th-ranked side claimed the unlikely
"We can't afford many slip-ups now," Neill said of their bid
to reach a third consecutive finals. "We've got to pick the team
that will do the job in each game now.
"We've got to keep believing and stay positive. There's
plenty of points to play for. But if we perform like we did
tonight it's going to be difficult."
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