Goodwin brace against Lebanon edges Australia closer to World Cup

Australia are through to the final round of World Cup qualification after a masterful display from winger Craig Goodwin led them to a 5-0 win against Lebanon.

At Canberra's GIO Stadium, Goodwin scored two goals and created another two with gorgeous deliveries into the box to get the Socceroos the comfortable result.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

A dream night for Graham Arnold's side saw both Kusini Yengi and John Iredale net their first international goals as Australia continues to search for a long-term answer up front.

They are now guaranteed a berth in third-round qualifiers which start in September, where a top-two finish in a six-team group will carry them to the 2026 showpiece tournament.

It will be a sixth consecutive trip to the FIFA World Cup finals for the Socceroos if they qualify.

Australia's Craig Goodwin drills his shot past the Lebanon goal keeper.
Australia's Craig Goodwin drills his shot past the Lebanon goal keeper.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Forward Goodwin, who sat out last week's 2-0 win over the Lebanese while battling a virus, rocketed in a long-range strike after half-time and steered in the final goal in the 81st minute to the delight of a record crowd of 25,023 at the venue.

"Maybe I'll have to be sick more often," the Saudi-based winger joked after the game. "It turned out well, I had a good rest.

"I'd only had a couple of training sessions before the game but I spoke with the boss and felt good, so he chucked me in."

The Canberra crowd only had to wait two minutes for Australia to lead, centre-forward Yengi finding his goal courtesy of an inch-perfect curling cross from Goodwin.

Yengi was in the right spot but jabbed his close-range effort onto the post, before shinning home the rebound.

Goodwin's delivery into the box regularly tested the Lebanese defence, with Ajdin Hrustic skying an effort from the edge of the area after 30 minutes following one of the winger's most piercing balls.

Another teasing ball from the outside of his boot invited Harry Souttar to add to his impressive international tally, but the towering centre-half directed his close-range header onto the post.

But those wasted chances mattered little, Goodwin producing a teasing set-piece delivery that forced Lebanese defender Bassel Jradi to turn the ball into his own net just two minutes into the second half.

Soon after, Goodwin found space on the left wing and lashed a dipping volley past Lebanon keeper Mostafa Matar from well outside the box.

Arnold made four team tweaks, including Goodwin's inclusion up front, and used the second-half lead to give debuts to Patrick Yazbek and Josh Nisbet.

Yazbek made an early impact, whipping in a perfect cross that Iredale could easily turn home, before Goodwin found an easy back-post tap-in for his second on 81 minutes.

Five days on from a 2-0 win against the same opponent in Sydney, the Socceroos looked far more dangerous in attack and turned in a focused defensive effort that offered their opponents very little opportunity.

"I was very happy and proud of the young ones. They took ownership when they went on the park and the future is bright," coach Arnold said afterwards.

Lebanon entered the contest needing points to try and boost their own path to qualification, but spent much of the match defending with 10 players behind the ball and rarely ventured forward with many numbers.

Conceding early against the Socceroos for a second straight game, Lebanon could have equalised on 14 minutes but Nader Matar fired his shot into the side-netting.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.