FIFA World Cup Australia

Jedinak hat-trick propels Socceroos to Russia as AFC sends five to World Cup

Australia qualified for their fourth straight FIFA World Cup appearance on Wednesday night after defeating CONCACAF representatives 3-1 over two legs of their intercontinental playoff.

After the first leg at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano ended in a scoreless draw, the two sides looked as though they could potentially reach extra time following 45 more minutes of scoreless play at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.

But bearded talisman Mile Jedinak stepped up in the second half, scoring the opening goal from close range in the 53rd minute before finding the back of the net twice from the penalty spot in the 72nd and 85th minutes.

Alberth Elis’ consolation goal deep into stoppage time was not enough for the CONCACAF challengers to claw back into the series, making Ange Postecoglou’s side the 31st team to qualify for next year’s main event in Russia.

Australia will join previously-qualified Iran, Japan, South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, giving the Asian Football Confederation five teams in the tournament for the first time.