The dismissal of national coach Bert van Marwijk three months ago did not cause the expected shock effect in the United Arab Emirates. The team lost 2-1 to Australia on Tuesday night, one World Cup win in Qatar.
Australia will play Peru in the deciding play-off for a World Cup ticket on Monday. After that, the 32 participating countries are known, because a day earlier New Zealand and Costa Rica were already competing for a place in the tournament in Qatar.
Ajdin Hrustic has become the hero for the Australian side. The midfielder who swapped FC Groningen for Germany’s Eintracht Frankfurt two years ago scored the winning goal shortly before the hour mark.
The match was played at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, which is also the venue for Peru v Australia on Monday. During the World Cup, six group matches and one round of 16 will take place here.
Hrustic scores through defender VAE
It was clear to see on the pitch that the stakes were high. Both teams started conservatively and had virtually no chances. The scoring was only opened at the start of the second half. Australian midfielder Jackson Irvine tapped a low cross from Martin Boyle from close range.
Once behind, the Emirates crawled out of their shell. This led to the equalizer in four minutes. The Australian defense couldn’t clear the ball after a cross and naturalized Brazilian Caio Canedo gratefully took advantage of it by shooting hard inside.
Australia, who played with former Eredivisie players Aziz Behich and Hrustic, had the better chances then. Hrustic made the decision in the 83rd minute. After a corner, he hit hard from sixteen yards. A defender changed the direction of the fall, leaving the keeper with no chance.
Argentina national coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena, successor to Van Marwijk, made another triple substitution and sent his team out in droves. However, Australia have given up no more chances and are still in contention to qualify for the World Cup for the fifth time in a row and sixth time overall.
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