Australia's coach was a relieved man after the final whistle, praising his men for their fight and talking up the importance of the result to the Socceroos' qualification hopes
|By PADDY HIGGS
Holger Osieck believes Australia's World Cup fate is finally back within their control, after the Socceroos came from behind to defeat Iraq and claim their first win in the fourth round of AFC qualification.
Osieck's men fell behind on Tuesday in Doha to Alaa Abdul Zahra's 72nd-minute strike, but headers from Tim Cahill and substitute Archie Thompson ensured Australia left Qatar in possession of three valuable points.
The Socceroos move to second in Group B on five points from four matches, and can now look forward to three home games in their final four matches in the stage.
"I have to give credit to the boys, not only for the finish, but over the game they dominated. We played our game and could really translate on the pitch what we practiced," Osieck told Fox Sports after the final whistle.
"I think we create an excellent game, but you see how it goes. They have one opportunity and they score from it.
"It was very fortunate that the two guys came on [Thompson and Tommy Oar, who provided the former with the assist] and made an impact. That helped, because we needed fresh legs."
Osieck added that he was "particularly happy for Archie", saying it was a reward for the Melbourne Victory striker's hard work in training: "I'm happy to have him around".
The Socceroos coach now believes his team is back on track for a top-two position in the group, thus qualifying automatically for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He is also relieved the only away trip remaining in the campaign for the Socceroos is against Japan in June.
"Of course it's a relief now, considering the fact that we don't have to travel to that area [Western Asia] again for the next couple of years, which is best for me, because now we are on home soil and we play in front of a home crowd and all the problems you have when you travel to this area are gone," he said.
"We are back on track... We are on five points and we are now in a position where we can get through on our own effort and not depend on anybody else."
Thompson struggled to hold back his delight after scoring the winner, but also revealed his hope the win would silence critics of the Socceroos' poor run of one win in six matches before the victory over Iraq.
"Hopefully this will shut a few mouths and put us back on track," he told Fox Sports.
"... I can't stop smiling.
"What helps a team, what helps players, is support... For us players, it's disappointing [the criticism]."