Australia scored three goals in five minutes to come back from behind and dump Frank Rijkaard’s Saudi Arabia out of 2014 World Cup qualification in Melbourne on Wednesday.
Australia trailed 2-1 at half-time but hit back with three second-half goals to run out 4-2 winners, as Oman claim the second Group D qualifying spot.
Oman’s 2-0 home win over Thailand took them past the lavishly-funded Saudis into the March 9 draw for the final round of Asian group qualifiers.
Saudi Arabia will miss out on their second straight World Cup finals campaign after qualifying for four consecutive tournaments from 1994 to 2006.
The Saudis rocked the home side, scoring twice in the opening half and controlling possession, but Australia emerged stronger after German coach Holger Osieck’s half-time team talk.
The road to Brazil has not been altogether smooth for Australia – they lost in Oman in November and were lucky to scrape a win against Thailand four days later – and skipper Lucas Neill admitted Saudi Arabia caught them off guard on Wednesday.
“It wasn’t the best of first-half performances, we knew the Saudis would come at us, but it was a great response and a good talk at half-time and passing the ball around quickly in the second half opened them up a little bit,” Neill said.