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Sterjovski one step closer to South Africa

Sterjovski one step closer to South Africa

Sterjovski one step closer to South Africa

Rams Australian midfielder Mile Sterjovski is one step closer to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa, after he helped the Socceroos to a 4-0 victory against Qatar in Brisbane last night.

Sterjovski, who has not played any part in the Rams Championship campaign so far this season, came on as a half-time substitute at a rain-soaked Suncorp Stadium.

He replaced FC Basel defender Scott Chipperfield at half time and at that stage, they were already 2-0 a head, thanks to first-half goals from Everton`s Tim Cahill and a penalty from Blackburn Rovers` Brett Emerton.

The home side hit two more after the break, Emerton scoring a second to add to his earlier penalty and Karlsruher`s Josh Kennedy rounding off the victory late on.

The match nearly didn`t take place after a storm prior to kick off delayed the kick off for 30 minutes, while puddles of water was cleared from the pitch following the heavy downpour.

The 29-year-old, who was an unused substitute for the Rams against Norwich City last time out, will return to the UK and will hope to be involved in the Rams Championship clash with Plymouth Argyle at Pride Park on Saturday.

Socceroos coach Pim Verbeek says he will not accept complacency in Australia's bid to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup following the resounding victory.

The Socceroos now have a perfect two-from-two record in this stage to lead Group A following an impressive away victory in Uzbekistan last month.

It was Australia's third win over Qatar in World Cup qualifying - the Socceroos posting 3-0 and 3-1 wins in the previous qualification stage. The top two teams in Group A earn direct qualification to the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

But Verbeek believes it is far too early to start thinking about a World Cup berth despite the Socceroos' flying start to the campaign.

'I'm not the one who is running around with a bottle of champagne in my hand because we have six points... but I will do that when we qualify,' he said.

'Before we qualify we should not think we are there, we still have a long way to go.'

Qatar's new coach Bruno Metsu spoke confidently prior to the game about the prospects of forcing a draw, but will encourage his players to learn from the loss.

'When you play against a strong team it is difficult to make one mistake, but one mistake it finishes you,' he said.

'Today the first mistake - they score. But I think for everybody, especially it is a good lesson today.'

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Writer:Peter Simcox
Date:Thursday October 16 2008
Time: 12:35PM

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