Australia just denied Honduras their third consecutive World Cup and secured their fourth in a relatively straight forward game in Sydney, which saw Mile Jedinak get a hat- trick!
The first half consisted of a competitive Honduras side who were getting very physical with the Australia players, with 13 fouls within the first 45 minutes.
This made the first half a very scrappy affair, with little to separate the two teams at the break, however, despite applying very little pressure the only clear chance did come from Honduras.
Upon returning, clearly now aware of the little pressure being applied against them, the Aussies moved attack up a notch, with Cahill, who was playing as a forward in this game, and Jedinak getting in comfortable positions and Australia began dominating the game going forward.
It did not take long for the deadlock to be broken, with Honduras poor discipline resulting in another Free-kick for Australia just outside the area. Captain, Mile Jedinak stood up to take the kick and hit the back of the net with a cracking strike, albeit with a little help along the way from a deflection en route.
Just one example over the two leg why the Australians sorely missed their skipper during his absence.
This assured no extra-time, but Australia weren’t finished and continued applying pressure on Honduras which paid off in the 71st minute, when a cross from Arron Mooy glanced off Honduras midfield Palacios boot straight into Bryan Acosta’s right hand in their penalty area and thus, gave Australia the chance to double their lead from the spot. A debatable decision, but we have seen them given for a lot less in the past.
Jedinak stepped up for the penalty and expertly finished, which put the Aussies 2-0 up with only 20 minutes to go and looking comfortable.
Honduras gave away another penalty just over 10 minutes later when Palacious fouled Kruse with a reckless challenge as he was about to pull the trigger.
Jedinak stepped up again and again made no mistake, sending the ball straight down the middle, sealing the deal, securing the hat-trick and sending Australia through. A fantastic result for himself, as well as his nation.
Honduras netted their goal in the third minute of extra time, which of course, wasn’t enough and the team left the field in tears.
Ultimately, a heartbreaking result for the Central American team, but one that cost them due to some very skeptical defending which saw rack them rack up over 20 fouls, two of which of course, lead straight to goals. As such, Honduras will now have to wait another four years for their next chance to qualify.
Meanwhile, the future of Australian Manger, Ange Postecoglou remains debatable. He did say he was may move on from the Socceroos, but with a World Cup secured in what was a challenging journey, Russia may just be too much of a tempting spectacle for the 52-year-old former player.
However, in the meantime, the party in Sydney can begin before the training for the tournament in June must start!