If there were any nerves from Australians heading into a brutal 16-day slog of 2022 World Cup qualifiers after nearly two years on the sidelines, they weren't on the pitch.

The Socceroos stormed past Kuwait 3-0 in their first match back and easily accounted for Taiwan this morning in second gear, never looking troubled by an opposition they've beaten 13 times in 14 meetings.

Mitch Duke grabbed a second-half brace while strike partner Jamie Maclaren again converted from the spot, with both Socceroos centre-halves Harry Souttar and Trent Sainsbury getting in on the action to round out a convincing 5-1 win.

See how each Socceroo rated below.


Danny Vukovic - 6.5

Interesting decision from Arnold to play Vukovic despite Ryan's lack of game-time at club level and supposed lock on the starting Socceroos position.

Perhaps not, but Taiwan certainly didn't give Vuka a chance to show his worth, bar collecting the ball out of the back of the net after he was sold short by a napping defence.

Curtis Good - 5.5

Another curious decision, playing Good as a fullback.

He wasn't particularly convincing as Taiwan clearly wished to exploit his channel, he was nearly caught behind on multiple occasions, but showed solid reactions and awareness throughout.

He also sold Borrello short with a few lazy passes, before steadying as the match wore on. Perhaps most concerningly, he was lackadaisically manning space when Taiwan scored, oblivious to the hole he and Kenny Dougall had left in the middle of the box.

Harry Souttar - 8

Souttar's height allows him to generate huge amounts of accuracy and power with his head, even when he's quite literally hugged and tugged by his opponent.

It's almost cruel playing him against these opponents: he now has five strikes in three Socceroos caps and is illustrating his potential on the world stage.

Trent Sainsbury - 8

A very solid, commanding display from the skipper. He showed intelligent positioning throughout, especially for his fourth Australian goal, nestling into space behind Souttar and finding an angle at the near post from Riley McGree's cross.

Rhyan Grant - 6

He was active, expectedly bombing forward at every opportunity.

He was also very nearly at fault for a Chinese Taipei equaliser, missing a defensive header before he was sold a dummy by Taiwanese winger Emilio Estevez. He had a chance to bury a third Australian goal after the penalty, but incorrectly chose to cross, and both his delivery and passing were off the mark all match. 

Kenny Dougall - 7.5

A slightly trickier customer to assess in that holding midfield role, Dougall was mostly impressive and left the pitch one of the best Socceroos on the night, commanding possession and dictating play.

He exhibited some whipping crosses and a willingness to quickly change direction and exploit attacking holes. He was also a tad inaccurate, with the occasional genuine who-to, which you don't see much at Socceroos level.

But the real price he pays was being drawn way out of position for Taiwan's only goal, leaving acres of space in the most dangerous Australian defensive area he should have been marking.

Brandon Borrello - 7

The Bundesliga.2 winger faces stiff competition in this squad and started brightly, almost converting a header in just the fourth minute. He should have also had a penalty moments later, when he was pushed off the ball.

Despite being one of the active Socceroos in that first half, he was also one of the least effective. He made a string of wrong decisions and missed an open goal. However he picked himself up immediately off the second whistle, sublimely dribbling through the Taiwan midfield and niftily setting up Duke's first goal.

Riley McGree - 9

The clear standout of the first half, McGree couldn't have done much more all game. The Birmingham City man rightly comes into this squad high on confidence: he has beautiful skill, and a sensational dribbling poise in one-on-one situations.

He nearly made his way through half the Taiwanese defensive line on the ninth minute, before notching two fantastic assists from corners to end the first period and he was similarly effective before his withdrawal in the second.

Denis Genreau - 7

He began the match positive and confident, striking early from range. He did fail to continuously impress himself on proceedings in that first half though, slowly drifting out of the encounter, but it was ultimately a very successful debut for the Macarthur midfielder.

Mitch Duke - 7.5

The most absent of the Socceroos in the first half, Duke failed to impose his physicality or poacher's instinct on the Taiwan backline.

He took about 20 seconds to change that in the second half, beautifully sneaking in front of the keeper to register his first goal of the match and from then on, he was much more involved and thoroughly deserved his second.

Jamie Maclaren - 7

No stopping Macca's sixth Australian strike, a coolly dispatched penalty. He would have wanted to make more creative runs from open play, but a very solid display nonetheless.


Chris Ikonomidis - 6.5

Heavily involved but ever-so-slightly disappointing, with a few loose touches and unsuccessful plays.

Conor Metcalfe - 7.5

Metcalfe was very impressive in his relatively short cameo, looking confident in possession and moving the ball with aplomb.

Ajdin Hrustic - 7.5

He's quickly becoming an upper-echelon Socceroo, with an overt talent that sees him naturally stand out every time he enters the pitch. He wasn't perfect tonight but his delivery and control was fantastic: a short but sweet display.

Nikita Rukavytsya - 7

You can understand why, at 33-years-old, Rukavystya isn't the first name on the teamsheet preparing for a World Cup a year and a half away.

But given he's become one of the most prolific strikers in Europe over the last two seasons, he hasn't really been given a chance to prove his worth and wasn't again tonight, despite assisting in a too-brief cameo. 

Ruon Tongyik - 7.5

He did nothing wrong in his few debutant touches, a very solid display.


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