Recapping the journey so far: Every highlight from the Socceroos’ World Cup Qualifiers

Socceroos Next Fixtures - June Playoffs

As the Socceroos prepare for their play-off tilt in June, we revisit the journey so far with every highlight from the World Cup Qualifiers.

The Socceroos head to Doha to take on the United Arab Emirates in a vital AFC Play-off on June 7, with the victorious nation set to face Peru a week later for a place at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

The winner of that match will lock in a place in Group D alongside defending Champions France, Denmark, and Tunisia.

Ahead of the Socceroos’ June play-off tilt, here’s your chance to revisit the highlights from every match on our journey so far.

Socceroo's China Team

Match 1: Kuwait 0-3 Australia

The Socceroos made the perfect start on the road to Qatar with a 3-0 win over Kuwait in Australia’s first FIFA World Cup 2022™ qualifier.

A brace from Mat Leckie, who was captain in the absence of injured skipper Mark Milligan, and a stunning strike from Aaron Mooy secured a dominant win and Australia’s first three points in Group B during the second phase of AFC qualifying.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Kuwait

Match 2: Australia 5-0 Nepal

Jamie Maclaren’s hat-trick and a debut double by Harry Souttar earned the Socceroos a dominant 5-0 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying win over Nepal.

Maclaren hit a quick-fire double inside 20 minutes to put Australia in the ascendancy as Graham Arnold’s side controlled possession and territory in the first internationally played in Canberra in four years.

The towering Souttar threatened from set pieces throughout and the Scotland-born 20-year-old glanced in a third goal on 23 minutes as Australia’s quality shone through.

Souttar scored again from close range with the help of a huge deflection on 59 minutes and Maclaren’s late strike completed the rout.

The victory in Australia’s only home match of 2019 made it a perfect six points from two games in Group B.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Nepal

Match 3: Chinese Taipei 1-7 Australia

Adam Taggart, Jackson Irvine and Harry Souttar were at the double while Jamie Maclaren was on the scoresheet again as the Socceroos continued their strong start to FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying with a 7-1 win over Chinese Taipei in Kaohsiung.

Taggart headed in Rhyan Grant’s cross and bundled Brad Smith’s cutback over the line to give Graham Arnold’s side a flying start before Chinese Taipei pulled a goal back through Chen Yi-Wei’s bullet header.

Irvine restored Australia’s two-goal buffer in the space of two first half minutes – the midfielder’s first international double, before Souttar and Maclaren added late strikes to crown a dominant Socceroos performance.

Ajdin Hrustic also announced himself on the international scene with a hat-trick of assists off the bench late on.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Chinese Taipei

Match 4: Jordan 0-1 Australia

History was against the Socceroos when they headed to Amman in November 2019 for their fourth match in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying.

Australia had never won an away match against Jordan before but Graham Arnold’s side delivered a fine display to turn the tables.

Adam Taggart’s early goal – his sixth in the green and gold – after a well-weighted through ball from Jackson Irvine was the difference in a 1-0 win.

The outstanding result continued the Socceroos 100% record, making it four wins from four on the road to Qatar.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Jordan

Match 5: Australia 3-0 Kuwait

The Socceroos marked their long-awaited return to the international stage in style, cruising to a 3-0 victory over Kuwait during their first FIFA World Cup Qualifier in 567 days.

It took Australia less than a minute to break the deadlock as Mathew Leckie headed home 55 seconds in, before goals to Jackson Irvine and Ajdin Hrustic secured the scoreline beyond doubt.

The result cemented the Socceroos’ position on top of Group B of the Asian FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, extending their lead at the summit to five points with three left matches to play.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Kuwait

Match 6: Australia 5-1 Chinese Taipei

The Socceroos secured six-straight international victories for the first time in 20 years as they maintained their perfect record in Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup™ Qualifying with a 5-1 victory over Chinese Taipei.

Following up from a 3-0 victory over hub hosts Kuwait on their international return four days ago, Graham Arnold made eleven changes to the Australian lineup who secured victory thanks to four different goalscorers.

Harry Souttar opened the scoring before Jamie Maclaren converted from the spot and Trent Sainsbury added a header of his own.

The second half saw the Socceroos score inside 30 seconds through Mitch Duke, before their opponents pulled one back on the hour mark through Gao Wei-Jie and Duke tapped home his brace late on.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Chinese Taipei

Match 7: Nepal 3-0 Australia

The Socceroos sealed a first-place Group B finish and a ticket to the third round of FIFA World Cup 2022™ qualifiers with a 3-0 win over Nepal.

Mathew Leckie and Martin Boyle scored on either side of Fran Karacic’s maiden international goal, as the Socceroos eased to victory against a Nepal outfit reduced to ten men after Rohit Chand received a red card for fouling Boyle on the cusp of half-time.

The result took Australia out of the reach of Jordan – the second-placed side in Group B – with just one game to play, ensuring Graham Arnold’s side progress to the next round of qualification and clinch a spot at the 2023 AFC Asian Cup.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Nepal

Match 8: Australia 1-0 Jordan

The Socceroos concluded their second phase of FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying with a perfect record after securing a historic 1-0 win over Jordan courtesy of Harry Souttar’s sixth goal in five international games.

The result ensured the Socceroos finished with 24 points in Group B and cruised into the third stage of qualifying with an unblemished record and an eighth-straight win in a single campaign for the first time.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Jordan

Match 9: Australia 3-0 China

An outstanding performance saw Australia get off to a red-hot start in Round 3 of FIFA World Cup qualifying, as they registered a 3-0 victory over China PR.

A clinical display from the Socceroos saw them get the job done against China PR in Doha.

Goals from Awer Mabil, Martin Boyle and Mitch Duke provided Graham Arnold’s side with the perfect platform to begin their final round of Asian FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v China

Match 10: Vietnam 0-1 Australia

The Socceroos continued their winning start to Round 3 of FIFA World Cup qualifying, as they secured a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Vietnam.

In hot and humid 29 degree conditions in Hanoi, Australia capitalized on their almost 70% possession to defeat Vietnam.

A first international goal from Rhyan Grant provided Graham Arnold’s side with a record tenth victory in a row.

WATCH: Match Highlights – Socceroos v Vietnam

Match 11: Australia 3-1 Oman

Australia became the first nation to register 11-straight wins in a single FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign as they defeated Oman 3-1 at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

With just under ten minutes played, Awer Mabil opened the scoring with the first shot of the game as he pounced on a loose ball in the box and slammed a powerful shot into the net.

Oman found the equalizer just before the half an hour mark, but Martin Boyle restored the Socceroos’ lead after heading home a parried Adam Taggart shot from close range.

Mitch Duke secured the three points with minutes remaining as he side footed home Fran Karacic’s cross inside the six-yard box.

Match Highlights: Australia v Oman

Match 12: Japan 2-1 Australia

Australia’s win streak ended in Japan with a 2-1 defeat to the Samurai Blue at the Saitama Stadium.

Despite a spirited fightback from the Socceroos, an early goal from Ao Tanaka and an own goal with five minutes remaining was enough to sink Australia to their first competitive loss since the Asian Cup in 2019.

Australia’s only goal came courtesy of Ajdin Hrustic, who lashed a free-kick over the wall and into the top corner to hand the Green and Gold an equaliser, but it wasn’t to be.

Match Highlights: Japan v Australia

Match 13: Australia 0-0 Saudi Arabia

After two years on the road, the Socceroos played out a 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia in front of 23,314 fans at Western Sydney Stadium.

The Socceroos’ first match on home soil since October 2019 produced a tight affair between two sides who were desperate to hold their positions at the top of Group B.

While there was a flurry of late chances for both sides, the deadlock was unable to be broken in wet conditions at Parramatta.

Match highlights: Australia v Saudi Arabia

Match 14: China PR 1-1 Australia

Australia’s road to direct FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualification was dealt a blow after being held to a 1-1 draw by China in the UAE.

Mitch Duke’s powerful first-half header looked to have the Socceroos on course for a crucial three points but China were awarded a penalty midway through the second half to level the scores.

The result meant the Socceroos had picked up two points from their previous three matches which left their hopes of automatic qualification for a fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup in the balance.

Match Highlights: China v Australia

Match 15: Australia 4-0 Vietnam

In front of almost 28,000 fans in Melbourne, the Socceroos returned to winning ways with an emphatic 4-0 victory over Vietnam.

Australia dominated from the outset with Jamie Maclaren and Tom Rogic both scoring in an entertaining first-half.

Substitutes Craig Goodwin and Riley McGree both scored their first international goals after the break to complete the rout as the side rediscovered their attacking mojo to snap their three-game winless run.

Match Highlights: Australia v Vietnam

Match 16: Oman 2-2 Australia

The Socceroos suffered another blow to their hopes of automatic qualification, with a 2-2 draw against Oman in Muscat.

Australia twice led through Jamie Maclaren and Aaron Mooy, but were pegged back by Abdullah Fawaz’s double.

The result left Graham Arnold’s side needing to beat Japan and Saudi Arabia in their final two qualifiers to guarantee an automatic qualification spot.

Match Highlights: Oman v Australia

Match 17: Australia 0-2 Japan

In front of 41,852 vocal Australian fans on a wet and cold night at Stadium Australia, the Socceroos played out a heartbreaking 2-0 defeat to Japan.

Substitute Kaoru Mitoma popped up with goals in the 89th and 94th minute at Accor Stadium to book Japan’s direct route to the finals in Qatar.

Australia needed a win to leapfrog their opponents in the group, but it wasn’t to be, and the result confirmed that the Socceroos need to navigate the play-offs to progress to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Match Highlights: Australia v Japan

Match 18: Saudi Arabia 1-0 Australia

Despite creating some solid chances, the Socceroos suffered a slim 1-0 defeat against Saudi Arabia to close off Group B.

Graham Arnold made a host of changes from the clash with Japan, as Bruno Fornaroli and Nathaniel Atkinson earned starting debuts for Australia while Nick D’Agostino made his Socceroos debut in the second half.

While the Socceroos created a number of opportunities, they were undone by a Salem Al-Dawsari penalty in the second half to suffer a third defeat in the group.

Match Highlights: Saudi Arabia v Australia

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