International Football: Scotland's Comeback Win Shows They Are Ready for WCQ

Dan IrwinCorrespondent IIAugust 15, 2012

Striker Jordan Rhodes made a splash in his debut for Scotland.
Striker Jordan Rhodes made a splash in his debut for Scotland.Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Scotland won in thrilling comeback fashion Wednesday, thanks in part to the shook-up lineup that manager Craig Levein implemented.

The rain that stayed at bay from the United Kingdom for much of the Olympic games came out in force at Easter Road in Edinburgh.

Scotland had a tough test against Australia, a nation that is ranked No. 24 in the FIFA World Rankings and has qualified for the last two FIFA World Cups. Movement by Scotland was sharp in the early going, linking several passes together to maintain possession and control of the game.

Jordan Rhodes, the Huddersfield Town striker who received his first Men's A-team national cap, didn't take long to get involved in the contest.

In the 4' minute, Rhodes' first touch inside the six-yard box popped the ball into the air where he lost it, promptly to be recovered by Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer.

The biggest news of the first half was the blatant handball that Danny Fox got away with in the 18' minute. In addition, replay not only revealed that Fox had touch the ball with his right arm. It had also, in fact, completely crossed the plane of the goal-line.

Fox wasn't called for the infraction, which let him avoid a red card and gave Scotland the luxury of keeping 11 men on the pitch.

But in this incident, justice was swift in the "socceroos" favor.

Australian midfielder Marco Bresciano hit a loose volley, following a cross for an absolute dream strike—one that will make the highlight reels of Australian football for years to come.


Bresciano's goal was also in the 18' minute, roughly 40 seconds following the uncalled handball by Fox.

To make matters worse for the Scots, goalkeeper Allan McGregor hobbled off in the 22' minute, favoring what looked like a knee injury. This brought in Matt Gilks to show what he had.

The doom and gloom for Scotland was short-lived however, as Fox found Rhodes with a very forward cross for a quickfire header in the 28' minute to level the score. Charlie Adam nearly found Rhodes again in the 39' minute with a through ball as they charged the box, but it was met by Schwarzer.

After a rather stagnant start the the second half, Gilks came up with a stellar save in the 59' minute.

It was the 62' minute when Scotland's go-ahead goal came off the head of Australia first-time player Jason Davidson, after Scottish players were coming forward with numbers.

Ross McCormack found a goal for Scotland in the 76' minute, putting an exclamation on a solid performance all around.

Australia seemed as though they'd spent much of their fitness in the first half and, after the goal by McCormack, seemed as though they'd been deflated.

Many Scottish fans questioned the ability of the team after the terrible outing in Jacksonville against the United States, but coming off of an exhausting club campaign and playing in an environment of high heat and humidity, it's likely that the same result would be hard to duplicate.

This result shows that Scotland are indeed ready for the challenges that await them in the World Cup Qualifiers, which begin 8 September against Serbia at Hampden Park.