The draw against Oman – a team the Socceroos should have beaten – leaves their hopes for the 2014 World Cup in limbo.
The coach, Holgier Osieck, had insisted it was a match the Socceroos had to win, but it seems the team didn’t get the message; the players never really got going against a well-organised and determined Oman.
In the event, the 2-2 draw on Tuesday night was almost the worst-case scenario. After Oman scored early thanks to poor defence and lack of structure from the Socceroos, and Mile Jedinak conceded an own goal just after halftime, the home team staged a desperate comeback to add a solitary point to its World Cup qualification campaign.
Australia now finds itself behind Japan and Jordan, teams it has to play again, in Group B. It is ahead of Iraq, and level with Oman. With just three matches to go, Australia cannot afford to squander any more opportunities to score points.
On the night, Tim Cahill was the best of the men in gold, scoring a headed goal from a looping corner to give the Socceroos a fighting chance.
Fans’ hopes of a win rose when Brett Holman scored from outside the penalty area but missed opportunities condemned Australia to a shaky draw. – Jordan Cox
Top: Brett Holman gets some love after equalising for Australia. Photo from footballaustralia.com.au