Kuwait 0-3 Australia: Socceroos cruise as Leckie grabs double

By Sports Desk September 10, 2019

Mathew Leckie scored twice as Australia coasted to a 3-0 victory over Kuwait, launching their mission to qualify for the 2022 World Cup.

Australia missed out on hosting the tournament, which controversially was awarded to Qatar, but they are determined to extend their proud qualifying record, having reached each of the last four tournaments.

The Socceroos were jolted by their 1-0 quarter-final defeat to United Arab Emirates in the Asian Cup in January, and an inexperienced line-up then lost by the same score in a friendly against South Korea in June.

Head coach Graham Arnold came in after last year's World Cup in Russia, where Australia tumbled out after the group stage, and now is the time the former Sydney FC boss must deliver.

This was perhaps not the match to judge him by, with Australia giving a perfunctory performance against limited opponents who resorted in the second half to dishing out some rough treatment.

Australia snatched a seventh-minute lead with a scrappy goal, Jackson Irvine's undercooked left-footed volley striking team-mate Adam Taggart first and then bouncing into the net off Leckie.

They were facing a side that beat Nepal 7-0 in their opening second-round Group B qualifier last week - begging the question of how many Australia might score when they come to face the Himalayan side next month.

Kuwait worked hard but carried little threat, and Irvine and Taggart both spurned chances before the second goal arrived for Australia on the half-hour mark.

Aaron Mooy's corner from the right found Irvine beyond the far post, and he nodded down towards the six-yard box for Leckie to smash home from close range for his second goal.

Irvine whistled a shot just wide from 15 yards when he perhaps should have done better, before Mooy grabbed the third goal for the Socceroos in the 38th minute, rifling a 22-yard shot into the top right corner as the home side failed to clear their lines.

The second half was rather a non-event, Hussain Al Moussawi and Yousef Naser threatening consolation goals for Kuwait but unable to find a way past Mat Ryan.


What does it mean? Australia get the job done

If anything, Australia emerge with credit for never looking in danger. Previous Socceroos teams have made a bad habit of losing an away qualifier to supposedly vastly inferior opposition. That was never on the cards.

Generation game

As their cricketing countrymen would agree, success can be cyclical. The men in baggy green endured a rocky patch or two before hitting their current Ashes high, and the Socceroos are undoubtedly a work in progress, their followers waiting for this generation to prove they have what it takes to be high achievers.

Their squad looks perhaps as strong as ever, with a large number playing at a high level in Europe, but as a team they have yet to fully click.

Mooy the merrier

Mooy has seen precious little Premier League action since moving from Huddersfield Town to Brighton and Hove Albion, but he was a lynchpin of the Australia side in this game and his exquisite strike was just reward.He might not have the flair of a Harry Kewell or the instinctive nose for goal of Tim Cahill, despite his screamer on this occasion, but Mooy can be pivotal over this campaign.

What's next?

Australia welcome Nepal to Canberra on October 10 and can surely fill their boots with goals. Kuwait go to Jordan on the same day.

Related items

  • RFEF postpones decision on new date for El Clasico RFEF postpones decision on new date for El Clasico

    The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has been unable to make a final decision on a new date for the postponed Clasico clash originally set for October 26 due to new input from LaLiga.

    RFEF confirmed the postponement of the match last Friday following political unrest in Catalonia.

    Violent scenes have broken out in Barcelona after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence last Monday.

    A rally in Barcelona has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, ultimately resulting in El Clasico's postponement for security reasons.

    RFEF left Barca and Madrid to agree a date between themselves and they mutually accepted to reschedule the match for December 18, but that now looks unlikely.

    LaLiga is reported to have insisted on the game being played on December 4 and RFEF has passed its comments on to the clubs, who have been given until 20:00CET Tuesday to respond.

    RFEF's statement read: "The Competition Committee of the Royal Spanish Football Federation will return to Barcelona and Real Madrid tomorrow [Tuesday] after receiving new statements from the National Professional Football League [LaLiga] on the date of the Clasico [originally] to be played on October 26 and was postponed due to exceptional circumstances.

    "The clubs will have a deadline to answer by 20:00 on Tuesday, and the Competition Committee must meet again to assess their responses.

    "During the day, the Competition Committee has analysed the proposals of both clubs, which it invited to agree to a day and who have agreed to play the postponed match on December 18.

    "It [the Competition Committee] has also analysed the various reports sent by the National Professional Football League during these days.

    "In addition, the Committee requested a report from the RFEF Competition Area, which has been sent to them in a timely manner."

  • Ballon d'Or: Rapinoe, Bronze and Morgan lead women's nominations Ballon d'Or: Rapinoe, Bronze and Morgan lead women's nominations

    Megan Rapinoe, Lucy Bronze and Alex Morgan lead the nominees for the 2019 Ballon d'Or Femenin in the award's second year.

    Publication France Football revealed their 20-woman shortlist on Monday, acknowledging the successes of Lyon and United States in particular.

    Women's Champions League winners Lyon have six players in the running, including Bronze and 2018 winner Ada Hegerberg, though the latter is not thought to be among the favourites given her World Cup absence.

    United States lifted the trophy in France and four of their squad have been nominated, with Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Morgan and Rapinoe flying the USA flag.

    Rapinoe is regarded by many as the favourite, however, with the Reign FC star inspirational in the World Cup campaign, finishing joint top-scorer on six with Ellen White and Morgan, while she also added three assists.

    She won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball in France, before also taking home The Best FIFA Women's Player award, edging out Morgan. Bronze came third.

    Full list of nominees:

    Lucy Bronze (Lyon), Ellen White (Manchester City), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Nilla Fischer (Wolfsburg), Amandine Henry (Lyon), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Vivianne Miedema (Arsenal), Dzenifer Marozsan (Lyon), Pernille Harder (Wolfsburg), Sarah Bouhaddi (Lyon), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), Lieke Martens (Barcelona), Sari van Veenendal (Atletico Madrid), Wendie Renard (Lyon), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Marta (Orlando Pride), Ada Hegerberg (Lyon), Kosovare Asllani, Sofia Jakobsson (both CD Tacon/Real Madrid), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns).

  • Freund: Germany have 'no chance' of winning Euro 2020 Freund: Germany have 'no chance' of winning Euro 2020

    Ex-Germany midfielder Steffen Freund believes Joachim Low's side are not capable of winning Euro 2020.

    Germany have not won the event since 1996, when they beat the Czech Republic in a Wembley final.

    Next year's edition of the tournament will also conclude at Wembley and Germany have a strong recent record, having been finalists in 2008 before finishing third in 2012 and 2016.

    But Germany did not make it out of the group stages at last year's FIFA World Cup and Freund said the side's depth is a problem.

    "We have no chance of winning the Euro [2020]," Freund told Omnisport, speaking courtesy of the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, driven by the new Nissan Juke.

    "You will always have injured players and we need everybody healthy … in the past, World Cup 2002 for example, an easy start [and] so you can get on a run.

    "This could be possible because this time, 24 teams will play [at the Euros].

    "Of course I hope Germany will be able to win the Euro [2020], but I can't imagine it at the moment."

    Freund said that Germany's recent form showed why they are unlikely to seriously contend at Euro 2020, citing the first half of a 3-0 win against Estonia in Tallinn earlier this month as the perfect example.

    It took a below-par Germany 51 minutes to open their account in that fixture.

    "Looking at the team, there are many talented players new in the team," Freund added.

    "There were so many players injured during the last two games – that was not great and you could see in the first half against Estonia, how far away we are from the best in Europe, especially when we are missing key players.

    "I'm not even talking about the world's top."

    Germany sit second in Group C of Euro 2020 qualifying, with five wins from six matches.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.