Saturday 20 January 2018 / 12:45 AM


Australia booked their place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with a pulsating 3-1 win over Honduras in the second leg of their qualification tie in Sydney on Wednesday night.

A second-half hat-trick from skipper Mile Jedinak propelled the Socceroos to victory after a nervy and frustrating opening 45 minutes finished 0-0.

Bearded warrior Jedinak snared the breakthrough the Socceroos and the 77,060-strong ANZ Stadium crowd so desperately wanted in the 54th minute, with a free-kick deflecting into the back of the Hondurans’ net.

The 33-year-old Aston Villa midfielder then coolly slotted goals from the penalty spot in the 72nd and 85th minutes to clinch Australia’s fourth consecutive World Cup berth.

Honduras nabbed a consolation effort through Alberth Elis deep into injury time.

Jedinak deservedly gobbled up most of the post-match plaudits, but Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, Aziz Behich and Tim Cahill all made outstanding contributions to the triumph, while Tomi Juric and Robbie Kruse – coming on for Cahill and Rogic respectively – played key roles off the bench.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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