Graham Arnold wanted the Socceroos to be "ruthless" against the world number 161, which, at the beginning, sounded motivational and patriotic. And, by the end, sounded more like the local bully bragging about beating up the ginger kid with asthma.

But that's not really the way it worked out. Arnie can talk all he wants about merciless destruction, when you look into Awer Mabil's eyes or Rhyan Grant's mullet, all we see is sweet kids from the A-League. That's the way we like it.

Let's face it, when you're up against Chinese Taipei next week, it's refreshing to know you come from a nation that's a little embarrassed to want to beat them 10-0.

So as we recap the Aussie performances blow-by-blow, first let's pay a little credit to one of football's true minnows, who came out fighting and like almost all sides we play, still out-cheered us in the stands.


Mat Ryan - 7

Might have to check those multi-million dollar fingers for frostbite after Ryan's snowman-esque level of inactivity on a harsh Arctic / Spring night in Canberra.

Solid performance, nothing to see here. But before you read the rest of our gushing ratings, here's a fact for you that really sums it all up: Ryan earns around $60,000 a week and his opposing shot-stopper, Kiran Chemjong, is reportedly only the fifth Nepalese footballer to ever own a car.

This is a country for whom Australia are "the most qualified" opponent they've ever faced. Just a reminder that when the Eurosnobs among us decry Aussie football, sometimes we just don't know how lucky we are.


In pics: Australia vs Nepal

All the action as the Socceroos managed to make heavy weather of a 5-0 win...

Rhyan Grant - 6

He was a bit nonplussed for most of the match, even losing ground to his impressive counter Anjan Bista at times.

If there's a glaring criticism to be made of the Socceroos overall performances, it was that tedious over-reliance on pushing the ball out wide for crosses. Again and again and again.

He cuts in and delivers sumptuous curling through balls that Cesc Fabregas would be proud of. But by the end, even Grant looked bored.

Bailey Wright - 7

Great to see big Bailey back in the Socceroos lineup and absolutely eclipsed by the size of his defensive partner.

After a long injury layoff and spell away from the national team, this new look central pairing was the big talking point of an otherwise set-and-forget lineup and while Wright wasn't challenged, he did look very comfortable as a high-sitting, playmaking defender.

Impressive, considering this isn't his natural game at all. His passing was slick and he hugged the halfway line, keeping us forward when we could have slipped back into side-to-sides after taking an early lead.

Harry Souttar - 7

As they say in good ol' Port Headland, WA, birthplace of Souttar's mum, this lad is built like a brick shithouse.

Arnie knows better than anyone that there's no better way to mercilessly beat up the Nepalese than chucking a 2-metre tall centreback up front and slinging crosses to him like keep-away against your little brother.

But despite a mostly good performance - he scored two convincing headers on debut but also missed a few sitters and sort of stood around looking sweaty - there's a lot to be hopeful about from this lad. Uncertain hope at this stage, but hope nonetheless.

As Simon Hill said in the commentary, the Souttar brothers (his brother John plays for Scotland) are going to be a trivia question someday, alongside Jerome and Kevin Prince Boateng.

But which Boateng are we going to get? Please, God, let it be Jerome.

Aziz Behich - 5

This might sound a little ranty, so forgive us. But it would be easier to be more lenient on Aziz if he hadn't played virtually every minute possible under Arnold's reign. The Arnie and Aziz bromance is a little scary: this is a man who wasn't substituted for the entire Asian Cup.

Tonight was the perfect night to give Brad Smith a solid run out. Brad actually starts for his club and was on the bench. Don't like Brad? What about Alex Gersbach, who has been strangely cast into the Socceroos wilderness by the boss who unearthed him, or James Meredith, or even Callum Elder. You get the point.

The problem with Behich isn't Behich himself. It's the fact he's playing third fiddle to Gael Clichy and co at his store-bought Istanbul club. The second club in a row he hasn't played at.

He's reliable, experienced and when he takes the ball in his stride and nutmegs his opposing fullback, we even catch ourselves thinking 'What do they see in Clichy anyway?'. But when he sends the same exact, listless cross in match after match, we walk away convinced that Clichy might not be going anywhere anytime soon.

Craig Goodwin - 6

There wasn't a lot to get excited about in Goodwin's fifth cap. This is a big occassion for one of the more fence-sitting Socceroos selections in Arnold's squad and he didn't quite live up to the occassion against an opponent he should have had his way with.

Directed a prime header from a beautiful Grant cross directly at the keeper and towards the end, he looked like he sensed he hadn't given enough and started pinging shots from range.

Couldn't nail a goal though, and definitely couldn't nail a starting spot.

Mark Milligan - 6.5

It's easy to see why Arnold sticks with the 34-year-old Milligan over the likes of Massimo Luongo, who was admittedly injured for this game but still unlikely to start.

Millsy is a beacon of defensive reliability in an otherwise heavily attacking squad and formation, but when his passing range is a bit off - as it was tonight - you get the feeling we might get better value out of Jackson Irvine and Luongo.


In pics: Australia vs Nepal

All the action as the Socceroos managed to make heavy weather of a 5-0 win...

Jackson Irvine - 8

One of the unsung heroes tonight. Brilliant assists (that chest to Jamie Maclaren was a thing of beauty) and he took up excellent positions, drawing defenders away from Aaron Mooy with aplomb.

The only weakspot was the static positioning in the box, where he and Maclaren got in each other's way for a few headers. But they were outswingers and we're nitpicking - he had a ripper.

Aaron Mooy - 8

The only man to outclass Action Jackson on the night was our maestro Mooy, who was one screamer away from a perfect performance.

As it stands, he was definitely the most merciless of the lot, sending devastatingly powerful shots into the back of poor Nepalese heads with all the pent-up frustration of a superstar forced to sit on the Brighton bench.

The key to Mooy's greatness and, by extension, our World Cup qualification hopes are those incredibly intelligent cut-through passes - most without looking - that he was pulling off like wings on a fly.

Nobody else in the Socceroos lineup does it. Even Tom Rogic is more of a dance-through the backline than a precision passer. And if we're going to qualify for Qatar, we're going to need more than Behich's crosses to get us there.

Mathew Leckie - 7

He wrongly had a goal disallowed so the extra pass mark is a little bit of a sympathy vote, but overall he had a fairly solid display.

He wasn't at his dangerous best, but he did drop interestingly deep at times, where he dallied and luxuriated on the ball with an air of smugness like Lionel Messi. Fun to watch.

Jamie Maclaren - 8

He doesn't do a lot but you can't argue with hat-tricks. It's not even the start of the A-League season yet and he's already in red-hot form.

If he gets a solid season in Oz and 20-odd goals under his belt, now that he's got some international experience to back him up, he'll be a very good option in Arnold's arsenal throughout this World Cup qualification process.

We learned at the Asian Cup that he can't be the only option though. As strange as it sounds, Adam Taggart's recent success may be the lynchpin to Maclaren's future.

Apostolos Giannou - 6

There wasn't anything substantial to judge him on so we won't waste words here, suffice to say that he tends to hold the ball a little too long and not pounce on first-touches like he may have three or four years ago in his peak.

He's an option, sure. But admittedly, he's an option that plays for a mid-table club in Cyprus and hasn't scored yet this season.


In pics: Australia vs Nepal

All the action as the Socceroos managed to make heavy weather of a 5-0 win...

Ajdin Hrustic - 7.5

We're big fans of that performance. Firstly, it's pleasing to see an Aussie winger who moved overseas very young work through the ranks until he's playing regularly and scoring a couple to boot in the Eredivisie.

Secondly, it's great to see an Aussie winger who not only takes on defenders and succeeds, but plays vicious inswinging crosses from a variety of different positions.

Thirdly, it's downright awesome to see a 23-year-old on his second ever Socceroos appearance argue with Milligan to the point of exasperation over the skipper's positioning from a free kick, that he then promptly sent directly into the wall. Brilliant.

Awer Mabil - 7

Like Hrustic, it was a breath of fresh air when Goodwin came off and Arnold injected excitement into the match with the introduction of two fiery young wingers.

For the first seven minutes or so, Mabil was the more dynamic. He's an excitement machine and full of confidence to run and beat a man. For the final seven or so minutes though, he gave a hint into why he's not starting every game.

He was a little over-confident and flighty. If he can cut that out of his game, he's a shoe-in for a starting berth.