LIVE: Socceroos’ epic early blitz in sublime start to 2026 World Cup qualis

    The Socceroos have scored twice in the first 20 minutes of their opening 2026 World Cup qualifier in an ideal start to their clash with lowly Bangladesh in Melbourne.

    It is the first in a minimum of 16 qualifiers for Australia as they attempt to book their place in a sixth-consecutive men’s tournament.

    The opening goal came in just the fourth minute courtesy of 1.98m defender Harry Souttar, who showed his constant threat from set pieces with a thunderous header into the top corner from a Craig Goodwin cross.

    Remarkably, it was the Leicester City centre-back’s ninth goal for the Socceroos in just his 20th appearance.

    Australia’s set piece threat was something that Bangladesh had pointed out in the lead-up to the game, with coach Javier Fernandez Cabrera saying: “For us, Australia as a whole is definitely one of the best teams in Asia and one of the best teams in the world.

    “When we talk about set plays, probably if not the best, it’s top five in the world, no doubt.”

    But Australia’s second goal came from a sensational build-up in open play.

    Right-back Lewis Miller fed Connor Metcalfe with a delightful chipped ball behind the backline. Metcalfe fended off a defender as he raced to the byline, before fizzing in a square ball for Borrello to slam home from close range.

    Borrello’s goal, in the 20th minute, was his second in ten appearances on the international stage.

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    Australia’s Harry Souttar celebrates the opener.Source: AFP


    Australia, ranked 27th in the world, will be firm favourites against Bangladesh, ranked just 183.

    But on a night when coach Graham Arnold will claim the record for the most international ‘A’ games in charge of the Socceroos, he will be hoping his charges can get their qualification journey off the mark with a strong performance.

    After Bangladesh comes a clash with Palestine on Tuesday Nov. 21 in Kuwait. These matches are important first steps on the road to 2026, but equally crucial as Australia’s last games before the Asian Cup in January.

    The Socceroos named a mix of youth and experience for the clash, with veterans including captain and goalkeeper Maty Ryan, Jackson Irvine, Mitch Duke and Craig Goodwin balanced with youngsters like 21-year-old Jordan Bos for just his fifth cap.

    Cameron Burgess is handed his third appearance, the same as fellow defender Lewis Miller.

    It is a reflection of the new-look squad where 12 of the 23 players are aged 25 or younger – twice as many as the squad that began the road to the last World Cup.

    Winger Martin Boyle was ommitted from the side after swelling around the knee that required surgery last year and kept him out of last year’s tournament in Qatar, with the Scottish-based player instead set to fly straight to Kuwait for next week’s clash.

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    (4-3-3, R-L) Maty Ryan; Lewis Miller, Harry Souttar, Cameron Burgess, Jordan Bos; Keanu Baccus, Jackson Irvine, Connor Metcalfe; Brandon Borrello, Mitch Duke, Craig Goodwin


    Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan, Joe Gauci, Ashley Maynard-Brewer

    Defenders: Aziz Behich, Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles, Ryan Strain, Jordan Bos, Cameron Burgess, Lewis Miller, Alessandro Circati

    Midfielders: Jackson Irvine, Massimo Luongo, Connor Metcalfe, Keanu Baccus, Aiden O’Neill

    Forwards: Mitchell Duke, Jamie Maclaren, Martin Boyle, Craig Goodwin, Brandon Borrello, Samuel Silvera, Kusini Yengi

    MATCH CENTRE: Live stats and more!


    Follow the action in our live blog below! If you can’t see the blog, click here.

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