SYDNEY, June 18 (Reuters) - Australia left it late but beat Iraq 1-0 to become the second country to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in front of 80,000 rain-soaked but euphoric fans at Sydney’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday.
Substitute striker Josh Kennedy headed the ball home seven minutes from time to give the Socceroos the win they needed to secure second place in Asian qualifying Group B and the ticket to Brazil that goes with it.
Iraq’s hopes of qualifying were ended by last week’s defeat at the hands of group winners Japan and Australia’s victory also ended the slim hopes of Oman and Jordan, who meet later on Tuesday, of a direct passage to the World Cup.
The Australians, frustrated for much of the evening, will now make their third successive trip to soccer’s showpiece tournament and a fourth in total after 1974, 2006 and 2010. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Pritha Sarkar)