Socceroos hammer Lebanon in World Cup qualifier as record falls


Australia cruised into the next stage of Asian qualifying for the 2026 World Cup with a 5-0 drubbing of Lebanon in Canberra on Tuesday.

Craig Goodwin’s two goals, plus strikes from Kusini Yengi, John Iredale and a Bassel Jradi own goal gave Australia a maximum 12 points after four games and they are now assured of progressing from Group I.

It was the Craig Goodwin show in front of a record GIO Stadium crowd of 25,023, the largest for a football match in Canberra.

“When I knew Craig Goodwin younger, he didn’t believe in himself like he does these days,” Australia coach Graham Arnold said of the 32-year-old.

“He’s a top-quality player, but he’s a fantastic person and a great leader. “His delivery, set pieces, is fantastic and his finishing, it’s just got better and better as he gets older.”

It took just two minutes for Goodwin to have an impact on his return to the side after illness when his teasing cross found Yengi to open his international account.

Yengi, a striker who plays for Portsmouth in the English third tier, bundled home at the second time of asking after his initial effort hit the post.

Goodwin almost made a second with another pinpoint delivery after 43 minutes but Harry Souttar’s header struck the woodwork and it remained 1-0 at half-time.

As in the first half, Lebanon conceded after two minutes and again Goodwin, who plays for Al Wehda in Saudi Arabia, was the creator.

His free-kick from the right was headed goalwards by Souttar where ‘keeper Mostafa Matar’s save hit hapless teammate Jradi and ricocheted back into the net.

A minute later Goodwin got his reward for a dominant display when lashing home left-footed superbly from just outside the box to make it 3-0.

Substitute John Iredale tapped in the fourth with his first touch after 68 minutes and Goodwin bagged his second from close range with nine minutes to go to cap a fine personal display.