Neill skippers Australia to success

Lucas Neill led from the back as Australia recorded a solid 3-0 victory against Qatar on Wednesday.

The match in Melbourne was the opening game of Australia's qualification programme for the 2010 World Cup. The Socceroos are now based in the Asian continental zone and have been drawn in qualifying Group 1 - along with Iraq and China in a tough four-nation section. Iraq are the reigning Asian champions while China reached the 2002 World Cup.

After today's contest - which saw Josh Kennedy, Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano all score inside 32 minutes - Australia are next in action on 26 March at home against China before 2 June when they welcome Iraq before the reverse fixture is played just five days later. If Australia finish in first or second, they will progress to the next stage which will see two groups of five teams. The top two teams from both pools will then go automatically to the World Cup in South Africa - a fifth team will play-off against a nation from the Oceania zone for another spot.