2022 World Cup Qualifying - AFC, Round Three
  • Awer Mabil (24')
  • Martin Boyle (26')
  • Mitchell Duke (70')

Australia hit three past China to top Group B

Australia players celebrate after scoring a goal against China in World Cup qualifying. Getty Images

Australia have made a perfect start to the next step of World Cup qualifying, defeating China 3-0 at Qatar's Khalifa International Stadium.

First-half goals from Awer Mabil and Martin Boyle and a strike from second-half substitute Mitch Duke were more than enough for Graham Arnold's team to cruise to victory in their adopted home of Doha.

The win, coupled with Japan's shock defeat at home to Oman, puts Australia top of Group B after the opening round of matches.

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"Very proud of the performance and there's only a lot more improvement left," Arnold said. "When you bring the family back together, even though they've been away for quite a while, the Socceroo family and that mateship of the boys is so crucial and important. I thought we were fantastic tonight."

It's also the Socceroos' ninth consecutive win on the road to Qatar 2022 and their seventh clean sheet in their past nine matches.

After a slow start, Australia kicked into gear with two goals in two minutes in midway through the first half.

Mabil opened the scoring in the 24th minute, the winger acrobatically finishing after a goalmouth scramble when Adam Taggart's dinked cross eluded the grasp of Chinese goalkeeper Yan Junling.

"We've got more to come. We're only just getting started," Mabil said. "I'm really, really excited for what we're going to do.

"It's really nice that it's starting to show, because we're here to make history."

One became two moments later when Tom Rogic, playing for his country for the first time since 2019, released Boyle with a quick forward pass and the in-form Scottish-born attacker fired home from the edge of the box.

That goal put Australia in complete control of the fixture against an underwhelming Chinese team, who had come into the match on the back of a four-game winning streak.

The visitors had given Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan nothing to do when Duke, who had come on moments before for Taggart, slotted home a rebound in the 70th minute from a Mabil strike to make it 3-0.

As well as Rogic, there was also a welcome return to national team duties for Aaron Mooy, who came on in the second-half for his first appearance in two years.

English-based fullback Callum Elder also came on late to make his national team debut.

The only potential setback for Arnold was Boyle appearing to tweak his left hamstring before being substituted.

Australia will look to continue their winning run when they travel to Hanoi to face Vietnam on Tuesday.

WC Qual - AFC News