Filed: Wednesday, 6th February 2008
By: Matthew O'Greel
Lucas Neill's Socceroos got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a flyer in Melbourne this morning.
The Australians, captained by West Ham's 29-year-old full-back strolled to victory against Qatar in the first Group A fixture of their journey to the 2010 World Cup Finals in South Africa, running out 3-0 winners.
The victory was never in doubt as the Aussies, under the charge of new manager Pim Verbeek completely controlled the game against the weakest team in their qualifying section with goals coming from Karlsruhe's Josh Kennedy, Everton's Tim Cahill and Palermo's Mark Bresciano - all inside the opening 33 minutes.
So enthused by the win was one Aussie journalist that he likened the 'Roos attacking play to 'slicing the Qatari defence apart like a Japanese chef preparing blowfish.'
Hammers captain Neill - who played the full 90 minutes - is already on his way back to London in order to return in time for Saturday's Premier League fixture against Birmingham.
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by Paul Gray
01:33AM 7th Feb 2008
''I was at the game last night and Lucas Neill's presence was hugely appreciated by the crowd. Lucas and Craig Moore weren't too troubled at the back but they were on the ball all night and checked every forward move by the Qataris, who were nimble though perhaps overawed.
For Australia, it's simply brilliant to have the grit, dedication and professionalism of Lucas as skipper, and of the other Premier League contributors, especially Brett Emerton and Tim Cahill last night.''