FIFA World Cup Qualifying: Australia 4 Jordan 0
Australia have taken a giant step toward the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a comprehensive win that ended Jordan's automatic qualification hopes.
A first-half goal from Mark Bresciano at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium was topped off by second-half efforts from Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and skipper Lucas Neill, who scored his first international goal in his 91st match.
The win moves Australia into second place in the Group B standings with one match remaining, against Iraq in Sydney next Tuesday. A win in that match will guarantee the Socceroos a spot in the showpiece 32-team tournament in Brazil next June and July.
The comfortable manner of this win, secured thanks to goals from Bresciano in the 15th minute, Cahill in the 61st, Kruse in 76th and Neill in 85th will give Australian coach Holger Osieck plenty of confidence going into what he hopes will be the final match of the qualifying campaign.
The loss ends Jordan's hopes of qualifying automatically and the best they can hope for is to earn a play-off spot with a win over Oman in Amman next week.
Brett Holman and Bresciano spurned early chances before the home side's early pressure paved the way for the deadlock to be broken. A piece of neat interplay between Kruse and Luke Wilkshire found the former Melbourne Victory man with plenty of space and time to pick out Bresciano, and on the second time of asking the Melbourne-born midfielder buried his chance for his 13th goal in Australian colours.
Jordan's best chances came from long range with Ahmad Hayel's 28th-minute effort fierce enough to concern Mark Schwarzer, who saw the ball whisk over his crossbar.
The visitors looked a lot more composed early in the second half as they patiently attempted to break down a stubborn Australian defence, particularly down the right, where Matt McKay was under siege.
Chances were fleeting and neither Hayel, with a header, or Saeed Murjan, with a long-range blast, could find the target just before the hour.
With their own attacking chances drying up, Australia called on Archie Thompson on the hour and the effect was immediate as he played a ball through to Holman, who found Kruse free on the right.
His first-time touch for the cross was sublime as he picked out Cahill at the far post. In customary style, the talisman nodded home to give the Socceroos a stranglehold on the game.
Australia pressed for a third and after a string of half chances, it was hardly surprising that Kruse, Jordan's chief tormentor all night, was able to turn charge into the box and seal the three points 14 minutes from time.
Neill had endured a long wait for an international strike but got on the end of a pair of headers from Cahill and substitute Tom Rogic to cap a great night for the home side.