World: Asian Cup
4 - 0
(2 - 0)
M. Boyle (45), C. Goodwin (89), H. Souttar (90)
E. Baggott (12)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Irvine pleased with Aussie "professionalism" following knockout round romp

FC St. Pauli and Australian national team captain Jackson Irvine expressed pride in his team after he himself furnished another vital early contribution in the victory that sent the Socceroos through to the 2023 AFC Asian Cup quarterfinals on Sunday. 
As he has from the very start, 1. FC St. Pauli squad captain Jackson Irvine played a vital role for his country. The Aussie skipper hasn't scored since the second group-stage-fixture, but remained a vital force for his XI. Irvine forced the issue in the 12th minute with a sharp cross into the box from the half-right. Indonesian defender Elkan Baggot ended up inadvertently deflecting the ball into his own net on the 1-0.

It took some time, but Hibernian midfielder Martin Boyle did eventually double the advantage at the start of first-half-injury time. Craig Goodwin and Harry Souttar added two more goals in second-half injury time. Irvine went the full 90 minutes yet again. His German club teammate with Hamburg's Kiezkicker, Connor Metcalfe, contributed 29 minutes of solid relief.

"I think our experience and professionalism shone through in the second half," Irvine remarked in his post-match interview [as quoted by Britain's "The Guardian"], "We had too much for them on the day. That's the kind of team we want to be: see the game out and get the goals at the end to seal a good performance. I'm really pleased with the second half."

Irvine was not among the players on head-coach Ange Postecoglou's roster when the Roos captured the 2015 AFC title in just their third year in the tournament. The 30-year-old two time Aussie World Cup representative will surely never forget the 2019 tournament, during which his country lost against Jordan and struggled against Syria in the group before being knocked out by Uzbekistan in the Round-of-16.

This year's incarnation of the Aussies appears much more consistent and promising, despite the fact that a heavily-rotated squad wasn't able to exact revenge on the Uzbek "White Wolves" in their final group stage encounter. The former Oceanic confederation nation now awaits the winner of Tuesday's Saudi Arabia-South Korea match in the quarterfinals.

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