Here are five things we can take from Australia’s 7-1 win over Taiwan.
* ARNOLD’S RUTHLESS EDGE HAS BEEN FOUND
Since the start of the qualifiers Graham Arnold has called for his players to be ruthless and that’s what they were in Kaohsiung. Four goals in the first half put the result beyond doubt and the flurry of strikes late in the second-half will have delighted the Australian coach as the Socceroos showed no mercy to a tiring Taiwan.
* RHYAN GRANT IS A BONE FIDE SOCCEROOS STAR
He only debuted last year but Rhyan Grant is almost undroppable at right-back now for the Socceroos. The Sydney FC defender knows Arnold from their time together in the A-League and is a vital part in the coach’s plan. His overlapping ability stretches defences and his delivery from wide led to two of the first-half goals.
* SUDDENLY AUSTRALIA’S STRIKERS LOOK GOOD
Adam Taggart’s first-half double was the rejuvenated striker’s first international goals since 2013 while Jamie Maclaren came off the bench to make it four goals in a week with Australia’s sixth. If both can keep up their good form at club level perhaps the Socceroos goal threat is a bit more dangerous than first assumed.
* HARRY SOUTTAR WILL WORRY DEFENCES
The big Scottish-born defender may have had one of his two goals against Nepal deemed an own-goal by the referee but there was no stopping him grabbing a double in Kaohsiung. The 198cm Souttar’s threat from set-pieces gives Arnold a great option for the campaign particularly with Aaron Mooy and Ajdin Hrustic providing excellent delivery.
* AUSTRALIA’S DEFENCE REMAINS UNTESTED
After Kuwait and Nepal offered little threat going forward, the Taiwanese showed good spirit and intent at times. They were never going to defeat the Socceroos but their 21st–minute goal exposed a lack of understanding between Milos Degenek and Harry Souttar as Chen Yi-Wei stole in to head past Mat Ryan. There were a couple more close calls throughout the game and Graham Arnold admitted he was disappointed with the defensive performance. Improvements must be made before the trip to Jordan in November.