Sport

Australia end Syria's World Cup dream

Australia end Syria's World Cup dream”

The venue of the match is at Stadium Australia, Sydney.

The anger in Ayman Al Hakim was bubbling well before Tim Cahill's head finally put their ambitions to bed in the 109th minute.

Mooy was heavily involved in Australia's play and was a constant threat from set-pieces but it was ex-Everton and Millwall man Tim Cahill who proved to be his side's two-goal hero at the age of 37.

Syrian soccer fans who live in Lebanon, applaud while watching the Soccer World Cup qualifying match between Syria and Australia, at a coffee shop in Beirut, Lebanon, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017.

Victory in that fixture would secure Australia's passage to a fourth consecutive World Cup after a tumultuous qualification process.

Syria's success in World Cup qualifying has come despite an ongoing civil war, and some fans wrote emotional posts about the significance of a win over Australia.

Australian midfielder Mark Milligan said: "The next round will be a different match, we will have a different challenge on our hands".

When all team cohesion seems lost - as it did against Syria - individual displays like Cahill's are about all they have.

Australia dominated the remainder of the first half, with Syrian skipper Zaher Medani blocking a Cahill shot after one flowing move and goalkeeper Ibrahim Alma force to save James Troisi and Leckie efforts.

"I'm proud of everything we have done together and how we can help kids watching to follow their dreams".

Despite praising striker Tomi Juric for his performance in the first leg draw in Malaysia on Thursday night, Postecoglou admitted that he was tempted to deploy his country's record goalscorer to unnerve the Syrian defence. Ultimately, Postecoglou's blushes were spared as Mooy played Kruse clean through to cross for Cahill's victor.

Staff have always been preparing for every possible outcome, compiling analysis and logistics on both probable adversaries and even third-placed United States, should they falter against the struggling Trinidad and Tobago.

The Syrian team has been on a remarkable run despite being forced to play all its games in other countries.

Rob Brooks writes about Australian football and the A-League for ESPN FC.



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