One month to go: Recapping the Socceroos' World Cup qualifying journey so far

With just one month remaining until the Socceroos make their long-awaited return to the international stage, here is your chance to look back on the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying journey so far. 

As Australia prepare to head to Kuwait to play out their remaining four phase two qualifiers, re-live exactly how the first half of the campaign unfolded back in 2019. 

You can read all about the journey below, or watch an extended recap in the player above. 

ONE MONTH TO GO: How to watch the Socceroos' return  

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Head coach Graham Arnold and his side navigated through their first four matches of the Asian Football Confederation’s second round with wins against each of their Group B opponents.

With four more matches to come, the Green and Gold have their GPS locked on the fastest route to the third round of qualifying.

Australia currently leads the way in the pool on 12 points, two points ahead of Kuwait and Jordan, with only one team guaranteed a place in the next stage as the runners-up hope they are among four best second-placed teams. 

That means the four coming fixtures in June 2021 will be crucial in deciding the Socceroos’ fate on their quest to advance to their fifth straight FIFA World Cup™.

Match 1: Kuwait 0-3 Australia

The Socceroos made the perfect start on the road to Qatar with a 3-0 win over Kuwait in Australia’s first FIFA World Cup 2022™ qualifier.

A brace from Mat Leckie, who was captain in the absence of injured skipper Mark Milligan, and a stunning strike from Aaron Mooy secured a dominant win and Australia's first three points in Group B during the second phase of AFC qualifying.

It took less than seven minutes for Australia to take the lead after Leckie turned in Jackson Irvine’s first-time volley, which fell to the midfielder after Mooy's corner was headed away.

Mooy Kuwait

Then, on the half hour mark, Leckie and Irvine combined to double the Socceroos’ lead when the midfielder rose near the edge of the box and powerfully headed a Mooy corner towards goal.

Leckie was alert to swivel and turn the ball into the goal from point-blank range to score his first brace for Australia since June 2018.

Less than 10 minutes later, a superb strike from Mooy ensured that the Socceroos went into the break with a three-goal buffer with the midfielder burying his first international goal in three-and-a-half years. 

The 28-year-old curled a first-time shot into the top corner of the goal after Adam Taggart brought down a punched clearance from Kuwait’s goalkeeper and laid the ball off for Mooy to launch his attempt from the edge of the box.

Relive the Socceroos' trip to the Middle East on September 11, 2019 

Match 2: Australia 5-0 Nepal

Jamie Maclaren's hat-trick and a debut double by Harry Souttar earned the Socceroos a dominant 5-0 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying win over Nepal.

Maclaren hit a quick-fire double inside 20 minutes to put Australia in the ascendancy as Graham Arnold’s side controlled possession and territory in the first international played in Canberra in four years.

Jamie Maclaren scored a hat-trick against Nepal

The towering Souttar threatened from set pieces throughout and the Scotland-born 20-year-old glanced in a third goal on 23 minutes as Australia’s quality shone through.

Souttar scored again from close range with the help of a huge deflection on 59 minutes and Maclaren's late strike completed the rout.

The victory in Australia’s only home match of 2019 made it a perfect six points from two games in Group B. 

CONFIRMED: Match times and locations for June's WCQs 

Match 3: Chinese Taipei 1-7 Australia 

Adam Taggart, Jackson Irvine and Harry Souttar were at the double, while Jamie Maclaren was on the scoresheet again as the Socceroos continued their strong start to FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifying with a 7-1 win over Chinese Taipei in Kaohsiung.

Taggart headed in Rhyan Grant's cross and bundled Brad Smith's cutback over the line to give Graham Arnold's side a flying start before Chinese Taipei pulled a goal back through Chen Yi-Wei's bullet header.

Socceroos Chinese Taipei

Irvine restored Australia's two-goal buffer in the space of two first half minutes - the midfielder's first international double, before Souttar and Maclaren added late strikes to crown a dominant Socceroos performance. 

Ajdin Hrustic also announced himself on the international scene with a hat-trick of assists off the bench late on. 

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Match 4: Jordan 0-1 Australia 

History was against the Socceroos when they headed to Amman in November 2019 for their fourth match in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifying.

Australia had never won an away match against Jordan before but Graham Arnold’s side delivered a fine display to turn the tables.

Adam Taggart

Adam Taggart’s early goal – his sixth in the green and gold – after a well-weighted through ball from Jackson Irvine was the difference in a 1-0 win.

The outstanding result continued the Socceroos 100% record, making it four wins from four on the road to Qatar.

 

READ MORE: Six reasons to get pumped for the return of the Socceroos