It was a perfect result if a far-from-perfect performance from the Socceroos. In front of some 18,563 fans in Canberra, here’s which Aussies made a statement of intent — and whose positions could be under threat.
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Mat Ryan — 8
Was he awake? He hardly needed to be. Comfortable when the ball was played back to him, and distributed well. Didn’t make a save all match, but then again, didn’t need to. A faultless performance — but anything less would’ve been a surprise.
Rhyan Grant — 9
The fullbacks are so crucial to Australia’s style of play when breaking down defences, and Grant showed once again he’s more than just a mullet. His workrate was elite, and his passing in tight situations — particularly his combinations with Leckie — were exceptional. His crossing was among the Aussies’ best, and earned a handy assist or two.
Bailey Wright — 6
Didn’t have much to do on defence but shut down attacks effectively. However, he struggled with the ball — his passing range was just slightly off and he gave the ball away too often. The worst of the Australian defenders, but still a decent showing.
Harry Souttar: 10
What more could you ask for? Graham Arnold promised that Australians would love him, and if he continues this form that’s almost guaranteed. Two goals, good with his passing and vocal with and without the ball. Perfect.
Aziz Behich — 7
Like Grant, got down the wings very well. His passing was a little off at the start but rose into the game well. Continued to get behind the defence regularly and his crosses were regularly dangerous.
Mark Milligan (C) — 8.5
One of the best Milligan displays we’ve seen in some time, and shows he still has a lot to offer on the park as well as with his leadership. Passing was good, both at the short and medium range, and his organisation was exceptional.
Aaron Mooy: 8
Crossing was exceptional, and his assist for Souttar’s second showed off his quick reading of the game situation. He was influential throughout the first half, but we would’ve liked to see him move the ball quicker at times. Hooked after an hour.
Jackson Irvine: 8
His combination with Aaron Mooy in central midfield continues to develop handsomely. His movement was top rate, and his lay-off passes to players running behind the lines was very threatening. Looked eager to get his name on the scoresheet, but failed to show a clinical streak in the box. Was a little slow on the ball, particularly in the first half — but that was a common issue for the at-time lacklustre Aussies.
Mathew Leckie — 8.5
His defensive hustle was exceptional, and his workrate on offence could hardly be faulted either. Always looked willing to take on his defenders and as often as not was successful. Often tucked into the centre of the park and was very good with quick passes and darting runs in every direction. A splendid game from him and — on the back of his two-goal performance — proved he’s the first-choice winger.
Jamie Maclaren — 10
Three goals, three clinical finishes from close range. Could have had a fourth when he reacted a millisecond too slowly and sent a close range header over the bar. Was good value for those goals, too — as his darting runs created acres of space for teammates to use.
Craig Goodwin: 5 (taken off at 70 mins)
Missed a simple header in the 55th minute when unmarked at the back post. Skied a chance ten minutes later then tried to make amends almost immediately with a driven shot that also flew over the bar. Like his shooting, he lost his range with crosses and — with Awer Mabil and Brandon Borello breathing down his neck for the starting berth on the wings — might just lose his spot in the side.
Awer Mabil: 6.5
Everything you’d expect from the thrilling winger. Was dangerous and direct, beating his defenders again and again. Failed to create any clear-cut chances in his limited time on the field.
Ajdin Hrustic: 7
Looked lively upon entering the field, but missed a couple of headers. His close-range passing was exceptional and slotted in seamlessly to the Socceroos attack.
Apostolos Giannou: 6
Tried hard, but things didn’t quite come off for him. Like Hrustic, his passing was good, and his combinations from close range were also impressive. Didn’t really get the golden opportunities to score a goal he obviously would have craved, but should get an opportunity against Chinese Taipei next week.