World Cup dream over for Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia

Updated: 29 February 2012 20:56 IST

Frank Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia side crashed out of 2014 World Cup qualification on Wednesday, going down to a late burst of goals in Australia as Oman leapfrogged them with a home win against Thailand.

World Cup dream over for Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia

Hong Kong:

Frank Rijkaard's Saudi Arabia side crashed out of 2014 World Cup qualification on Wednesday, going down to a late burst of goals in Australia as Oman leapfrogged them with a home win against Thailand.

The Saudis led Australia at half-time, but the Socceroos hit back with three strikes in five minutes to run out 4-2 winners, while Oman beat Thailand 2-0 to claim the second Group D Asian qualifying spot.

Saudi Arabia qualified for four consecutive World Cups from 1994 to 2006 but it is their lesser-known neighbours who will join Australia in the final Asian group qualification stage for the tournament in Brazil.

China salvaged a measure of pride from their failed qualification campaign with a 3-1 home win over Jordan, who had already made it through to the next round.

Three defeats and two wins had left China with no chance of making it to Brazil 2014, but a brace from midfielder Hao Junmin and a late strike from substitute Yu Dabao gave the fans in Guangzhou something to cheer about.

Defeat for Jordan opens the door for Iraq to sneak ahead of them at the top of Group A, if they avoid defeat against Singapore in Doha.

In Melbourne, the Saudis rocked their hosts in the first half, scoring twice and dominating possession to lead 2-1 at the interval, but Australia emerged stronger after the break.

Australia skipper Lucas Neill had a headed equaliser - which would have been his first international goal - flagged offside just after the hour, although replays suggested he was in line with the last defender.

But the home side finally levelled with around twenty minutes remaining when the impressive Alex Brosque laid on a ball for former Liverpool star Harry Kewell to sidefoot home.

The hosts then netted twice in quick succession to steal a 4-2 lead, with Brosque glancing home a Brett Emerton cross for his second and Emerton scoring to leave Rijkaard shaking his head in disbelief.

In Group C, Tajikistan and North Korea drew 1-1, but with Uzbekistan and Japan already through, the result was largely academic.

Topics : Football Saudi Arabia Australia
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