Australia seal World Cup spot

Australia beat Iraq 1-0 to book their place in the 2014 World Cup finals, while Iran and South Korea also qualified on Tuesday.

Last Updated: 18/06/13 at 20:17 Post Comment

Josh Kennedy: Scored the winning goal

Josh Kennedy: Scored the winning goal

Josh Kennedy's late strike secured Australia's place in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as they claimed a 1-0 win over Iraq at Stadium Australia.

Nagoya Grampus striker Kennedy headed the Socceroos through from Group B in the Asia qualifying zone in the 83rd minute to put his side on 13 points and out of reach of Oman and Jordan.

Australia wasted several chances before coach Holger Osieck decided to replace forward Tim Cahill with Kennedy in the 77th minute, with the striker making the breakthrough five minutes later.

Socceroos captain Lucas Neill was relieved as his side booked their place in the tournament alongside Japan, who had already qualified from the group.

"I'm proud of everybody. It's been a really hard campaign but we showed our mental strength," Neill said.

"I'm sorry it wasn't pretty but we beat them. We've got to keep pushing ourselves. Let's look at the positives tonight - we're going to Brazil!"

Osieck added: "It was a very tough qualifying campaign but we made it happen over the last three games.

"I'm simply happy for the boys and the fans. It was a tricky game, they are tough to play."

Elsewhere, Iran and South Korea had their qualification confirmed from Group A but Uzbekistan almost caused an upset on goal difference.

Uzbekistan defeated Qatar 5-1 but it was not enough to pass South Korea in the standings.

Abdulqadir Ilyas opened the scoring for Qatar in the first half before two for Bahodir Nasimov and scores for Oleg Zoteev, Odil Ahmedov and Ulugbek Bakaev after the break earned a convincing win, which fell two goals short of securing Uzbekistan's progression.

Iran beat South Korea 1-0 in the other game thanks to Reza Ghoochannejhad's 60th-minute score to finish top of the group with 16 points, Korea runners-up with 14.

After narrowly missing out on an automatic qualification spot, Uzbekistan will now face Jordan in a play-off. Jordan beat Oman 1-0 to set up the clash.

Ahmad Hayel Ibrahim scored the decisive goal from close range after 57 minutes to ensure the hosts jumped ahead of Oman, who had begun the day with hopes of booking a place in Brazil, and into third place in Group B.

Uzbekistan and Jordan will now contest a two-legged tie on September 6 and 10, before the winner faces the fifth-placed South American side in an intercontinental play-off.


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