Graham Arnold got the statement win he wanted in his first match back in charge of the Socceroos as they brushed aside Kuwait 4-0.
An own goal by defender Khalid Mohamed Ibrahim gave the visitors the perfect start after 12 minutes with Apostolos Giannou, Tom Rogic and debutant Awer Mabil all finding the net in a one-sided victory in Kuwait City on Tuesday morning (AEDT).
For much of the match Australia were in cruise control, playing to the structures set by their new management rather than going for the jugular.
Rogic was at the heart of everything positive for Arnold’s side in what was an excellent display from the Celtic playmaker.
The Socceroos entered the match promising a win and a performance to please the new manager, who spent two international windows preparing his team for the occasion.
Arnold said he saw “a lot of positives” but one thing was lacking; finishing.
“You can see we worked hard on our rotations, the penetration and the pressing,” he said.
“We still need the icing in the cake which is the finishing.
“The execution will come.
“The performance was promising but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
Arnold made four changes from Australia’s last outing – a 2-0 defeat by Peru at the World Cup – with goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, Massimo Luongo, Jackson Irvine and Giannou restored to the starting line-up.
It became clear early that Kuwait would not be up to the task and the hosts could barely have been more accommodating with two huge errors that led to early goals.
Ibrahim began the rout when headed Robbie Kruse’s curling cross into his own net.
On the 20-minute mark Giannou scored his first international goal with a smart finish following a mix-up between defender Dhari Sa’ed and goalkeeper Hamid Yousef.
Whether it was the comfortable scoreline or the humidity, the Socceroos sat back on their lead before the introduction of substitutes Daniel Arzani and Tomi Juric on the hour added some spark to the attack.
Luongo set up the third goal with a strong tackle that released Rogic who fired past Yousef.
With Mabil – along with his great mate Thomas Deng – thrown on late, there was time for the former Adelaide United winger to finish off a fine move and add some extra gloss to the scoreline.
Socceroos: Danny Vukovic (gk), Josh Risdon (Thomas Deng 76’), Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan (capt), Aziz Behich (Alex Gersbach 83’), Jackson Irvine (Mustafa Amini 73’), Massimo Luongo, Tom Rogic, Mathew Leckie (Awer Mabil 73’), Apostolos Giannou (Tomi Juric 65’), Robbie Kruse (Daniel Arzani 65’).

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