Syria’s run through World Cup qualification ended in heartbreak today. Tim Cahill headed in a goal, his second, in extra time to put Australia past Syria, 2-1, in the second leg of their fifth-place AFC playoff. Australia won, 3-2, on aggregate and advanced to the inter-confederation playoffs.
Syria, which played its home games outside of the country due to the ongoing civil war, finished third in their group. Syria played the Socceroos to a 1-1 draw during their “home” match in Malaysia last week. The teams were again level at 1 after 90 minutes today, after goals by Cahill and Omar Al Somah.
For Cahill, the two goals today were his 49th and 50th in international competition. The longtime Everton striker, now with Melbourne City, has scored in three consecutive World Cups. He’ll get a chance to put Australia into the 2018 World Cup when the Socceroos play the fourth-placed team in CONCACAF — either Honduras, Panama or the United States — next month in a two-legged tie.