El Salvador secured a historic win, the first ever for their country in an 11-a-side FIFA tournament.
Australia played well for the majority of the game, but Carlos Restrep’s helter-skelter changes at 1-0 down helped his side draw level.
Even without the context of a war-torn nation, Iraq would be hugely difficult to summarise – not only have they experienced great turmoil with their coaches, with Vladimir Petkovic seemingly on the cusp of the sack for failing to secure to qualification only months after Zico was fired, but they’ve also lost their two most important players, Younis Mahmoud and Nashat Akram, both withdrawing on the eve of this World Cup qualifier.
Neither Australia nor Jordan have played particularly revolutionary football during this World Cup qualification campaign.
Australia’s task for qualifying for the World Cup was effectively about how they could perform against two different types of opponents.
This is the sixth time Australia has played Japan since that famous first clash in Kaiserslautern at the 2006 World Cup, but never has there been such a disparity in their fortunes.
It is a testament to Robbie Kruse’s improvement this season that Bayer Leverkusen have pinpointed him as a potential replacement for the Chelsea-bound Andre Schurrle, who is undoubtedly the club’s star talent.
The last two World Cup qualifiers for Socceroos have raised not only the perennial questions over the squad’s age, the ability of the coach and the long-term future for the team, but also raised a more subtle tactical question.