Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Sydney: A second half hat-trick from captain Mile Jedinak fired Australia to the FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia after an emphatic 3-1 win over Honduras in the second leg of their Intercontinental Play-off at Stadium Australia in Sydney.
The Socceroos victory means that in Russia, Asia will be represented by five nations at the FIFA World Cup for the first time ever.
Jedinak, who came into the playoffs under an injury cloud after a lengthy period on the sidelines with a groin problem, converted two penalties and a free-kick off a wicked deflection to score his first hat-trick for Australia at the most opportune time.
The free-kick came about after a barnstorming run from Tom Rogic just seven minutes into the second half, which drew a foul on the edge of the area, after which Jedinak took the responsibility on his shoulders and fired Australia into the lead courtesy of a deflection from Henry Figueroa that left Donis Escobar stranded.
Twenty minutes later Argentine referee Nestor Pitana picked out a handball against Honduran midfielder Bryan Acosta and awarded a penalty to the hosts, with Jedinak converting past Escobar
Less than 10 minutes later he sent the 77-000 strong crowd at Stadium Australia into a frenzy when he fired home from the spot again to extend the Socceroos lead to 3-0.