Australian skipper Mile Jedinak proved Captain Courageous helping to propel the Socceroos to a berth at the World Cup in Russia.
Australian skipper Mile Jedinak proved Captain Courageous helping to propel the Socceroos to a berth at the World Cup in Russia.

‘It means more than I can describe’

Mile Jedinak (centre) leads the celebrations after the win over Honduras.
Mile Jedinak (centre) leads the celebrations after the win over Honduras. DAVID MOIR

EVENTUALLY the aches and pains will hit, but for now the euphoria of leading his country to the promised land of a World Cup has left Mile Jedinak almost speechless with pride.

The second leg of Australia's World Cup playoff with Honduras shone a remarkable spotlight on the Australian captain, whose achievement in playing a second 90 minutes in five days after months out injured was topped by a second-half hat-trick that broke the Honduran resistance.

The 180 minutes he produced over the two legs was almost twice as many as he had played for his club since June, and Jedinak admitted he had surprised himself with his endurance.

"I always thought I'd be in this position and I always wanted to be," he said.

"To have actually done it now on both occasions is surprising for myself just with being able back up.

"It's a credit to everybody who helped me along the way. I didn't have doubts so much, it was more just you can never predict how you are going to pull up.

"With the fact the pitch over there was so heavy, it would have got even the guy who had played every single minute of every single game this season, it would have been tough on them. For that reason I am very grateful.

"My body feels OK at the minute - I am a little bit tired but that's expected. There's plenty time to worry about that later on."

Unsurprisingly Jedinak confirmed it was his first ever hat-trick, and he will never again score one with such impact. Australia had struggled to make inroads into the Honduran defence until his freekick deflected home to open the scoring.

Two penalties to seal the result sent Australia through to the World Cup, and left the usually measured captain at a loss to articulate his emotions.

"I don't know, it probably means more than I can describe," he said.

"We set out on a task couple years ago to qualify for a World Cup and to go and make an impact at a World Cup.

"First of all the job was always to get there and we are one of last teams to do it, but we did it our way. I'm very proud of what we've done and how we got there.

"I was always confident, there were no reasons why we would not be confident. Results are going to get looked at and scrutinised as they do, that's normal and how football is.

"What's internal to us is that we stick to our guns. We had that philosophy all along, we all had the belief. The boss had the belief in us and we carried that out, not only in this game but the whole campaign."



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