World

Seven-up Australia thrashes Taiwan in World Cup qualifying

Seven-up Australia thrashes Taiwan in World Cup qualifying

Australia ran riot in a 7-1 demolition of Taiwan on Tuesday to continue their runaway start to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Adam Taggart, Jackson Irvine and defender Harry Souttar all scored twice along with Jamie Maclaren’s solitary strike as the Socceroos solidified their lead of Asia’s Group B.

Australia, who have already had 3-0 and 5-0 wins over Kuwait and Nepal, conceded their first goal of the qualifying campaign through Chen Yi-wei’s 21st-minute header.

But the Aussies were already two goals to the good by then after Taggart scored in the 12th and 19th minutes — his first goals for the Socceroos in six years.

“We were looking to get crosses in the box, especially early when they weren’t set, and they worked a couple of times and we got some goals in there,” Taggart said after the match.

Taggart’s opener was a header from Rhyan Grant’s pinpoint cross, and he tapped in his second after slick work on the left from Brad Smith and Awer Mabil.

Taiwan scored with their first meaningful attack, when Chen headed only his second goal in 58 international appearances to send the sparse home crowd into a frenzy.

Taiwan goalie Pan Wen-chieh come off second best in an aerial collision with Harry Souttar, and then looked dazed after Brandon Borrello ran into him head-on chasing a loose ball.

Irvine then scored two in three minutes, firstly a half-volley and then a header from Mabil’s cross to make it 4-1 at half-time.

Taiwan’s attempted rally in the second half faded when three players were subbed off with cramp.

The towering Souttar, who plays for Fleetwood Town in England’s third tier, headed two goals to make it three in two games for the Socceroos.

Veteran striker Maclaren also got on the scoresheet after his hat-trick in last week’s 5-0 drubbing of Nepal in Canberra.