18/04/2024

The Socceroos began their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign with a comfortable victory over Bangladesh. Photo Credit: Socceroos/Twitter

On a night where they celebrated their past, the Socceroos took the first step towards securing their future with a 7-0 win over Bangladesh in their first match of 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifying.

On the 18th anniversary of John Aloisi’s penalty that sent Australia to their first Men’s World Cup in 32 years, members of the West-Germany 1974 qualifying campaign were honoured in front of 20,876 spectators in Melbourne on Thursday night.

50 years on from the Socceroos historic qualification for the 1974 World Cup, Graham Arnold’s new generation of Australian history-makers comprehensively dispatched their Bangladeshi opponents in all areas of the ground.

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The disparity in both height and physicality was clear to see early, as a trademark Harry Souttar header was nodded in, uncontested within five minutes.

The second goal was perhaps the most promising glimpse of the flicks and tricks that Arnold had called for pre-game.

The deft flick of the toe from Lewis Miller that released Jordy Bos in behind, who found Brandon Borrello awaiting in the six-yard box.

Some call it the beautiful game. Others, Joga Bonito. Arnold calls it “backyard football.”

The Socceroos aren’t there yet, but the sparks of creativity and ingenuity will be pleasing for Aussie fans, as it’s something the team has sometimes struggled with playing against defensive minded, lower ranked opposition.

A Mitch Duke double rounded out the period, his first reminiscent of the header he scored against Denmark in the World Cup almost 12 months ago.

Duke was unable to complete his triple as he was one of a trio of changes made by Arnold at half-time.

A Jamie Maclaren hat-trick was the highlight of the second half, as the Melbourne City talisman needed just 45 minutes to secure the match ball.

Portsmouth striker Kusini Yengi also became Socceroos cap 638 when he came off the bench, mid-way through the second half.

Unfortunately his most significant contribution was when he got in the way of a Jamie Maclaren attempt that looked destined for the back of the net in the 80th minute.

It was a complete performance for Arnold’s side, but most importantly three points to kick start the Socceroos qualifying campaign.

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