Greek-born Apostolos Giannou made an instant impact for Australia in a 7-0 drubbing of Tajikistan that rubber-stamped a ticket to the next stage of the World Cup qualifiers.
The Australians will advance from the top of their group after treating the Tajiks as training cones in a Thursday night romp at Adelaide Oval.
Giannou had four goal assists on debut, substitute Tommy Rogic and Nathan Burns potted a brace each, while Massimo Luongo, Mile Jedinak and Mark Milligan also scored.
Giannou, who described his recent decision to opt for Australia over Greece as the hardest of this life, laid off a pass for Luongo’s scorching second-minute strike which set the tone of a lopsided fixture.
The central striker then earnt two penalties – and both were converted by captains: Jedinak in the 12th minute and his halftime replacement Milligan in the 57th.
Attacker Burns added another in the 67th minute when given gold-plated service from Aaron Mooy, who toyed with the Tajiks in a masterful midfield display before 35,439 spectators.
Rogic then came on and scored twice in a three-minute span with sweet strikes – though one of them denied Giannou a goal.
Rogic’s 70th-minute blast just cleared the line before rebounding to Giannou, who belatedly tapped in.
The Greek recruit later hit the bar from close range – one of four Australians to strike the woodwork – before Burns put the icing on the Socceroos’ cake with a headed goal in the 87th minute.
Australia recorded a whopping 38 shots to one from the Tajiks – and that was kindly credited by statisticians as it was a hopeful kick from almost 40 metres out which ended up dribbling just inside a corner flag.
The Australians will keep top billing of the group regardless of Tuesday night’s result against Jordan in Sydney – the last of the initial stage of qualifying.
Australia will then join 11 other Asian nations in the next qualifying phase for the 2018 World Cup in Russia – the draw will be held in April for a stage starting in September.