18 June 2013 | News Comments

Australia qualify for World Cup 2014

Australia left it late to beat Iraq 1-0 and become the second country to qualify for the 2014 World Cup finals in front of 80,000 rain-soaked fans at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

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.

Elsewhere, Iran produced a resolute defensive display to snatch a 1-0 away win over South Korea and qualify for the World Cup.

Despite the defeat, the Koreans also qualified for the finals after they edged Uzbekistan - 5-1 winners over Qatar - for the runners-up spot on goal difference.

Ethiopia soccer officials admitted they fielded an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifier against Botswana by mistake and have said they would not appeal any FIFA disciplinary rulings made against them.

This means South Africa, who thought they were out of contention, may still be able to qualify.