Kuwait have sent the Socceroos a stern warning with their 7-0 demolition of Nepal on Thursday, ahead of their World Cup qualifier against Australia on Wednesday (AEST).
For the last 20 minutes of Kuwait’s 7-0 thrashing of Nepal on Thursday, fans at the Jaber Al Ahmad International Stadium were dancing in the stands and waving phones in the air.
As an opening game in Group B in the second round of qualification for the 2022 World Cup, it could not have gone better. As a warm-up for the Socceroos' visit on Tuesday (Wednesday (AEST), it was also pretty much perfect.
It was an impressive victory for the Blues who are joined at the top of Group B by Jordan who took all three points from their away trip to Taiwan.
Kuwait will go six points clear of Australia -- inactive on Matchday One -- if they can take three points once again on Tuesday.
Benefitting from Nepal’s request to stage the game in Kuwait City rather than Kathmandu, the Blues were also able to take their feet off the pedal for much of the second half. They should be fresh. They will also be full of confidence.
Such was the dominance of Kuwait, who lost 4-0 to the Socceroos the last time they met in October 2018, that there won’t be many lessons for Australia boss Graham Arnold to take away. Nepal were never in the game, gave too much space and did not test the home defence.
The game was over as a contest by the quarter hour mark. Yousef Nasser opened the scoring after six minutes sweeping home from close range and the lead was extended seven minutes later as Fahd Al Hajeri headed a corner home from the far post with the visitors claiming a foul.
Just after the restart, the deal was sealed when Abdullah Al Mutairi floated over a perfect cross from the right and Nasser showed his goalscoring instincts once again, directing a powerful header into the net.
The provider for the third turned poacher for the fourth soon after, running on to a long ball to lift the ball expertly over the advancing goalkeeper from just inside the area.
Veteran Bader Al Mutawa took advantage of some slack defending to score a fifth, adding to the delirium of the home fans. Kuwait added two more in stoppage time to seal Nepal's misery.
Prior to the game, Kuwait had been concerned about creating chances against a well-organised Nepali team that had looked very solid when conceding just a single strike against Kuwait in two March friendlies.
The early goals meant that the South Asian game plan was quickly in ruins. Kuwait, playing their first competitive game since the 2015 Asian Cup due to their FIFA suspension that came later that year, were soon stroking the ball around.
Defenders were bringing the ball forward from deep, Ahmed Al Dhefiri and Al Mutairi were providing the width to stretch the Nepalese defence even more and Al Mutawa was in his element.
The 34 year-old enjoyed himself immensely, roving around the forward line, dragging defenders out of position and combining well with Nasser and Faisal Al Harbi.
Every Kuwaiti player looked good though the real test will come on Tuesday.
Earlier in the group's other game, Jordan kicked off their campaign with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Taiwan in Taipei.
Bahaa Faisal gave Jordan the lead after 19 minutes and Ahmed Sanir made it 2-0 eight minutes before the break.
With nine minutes remaining, Wen Chih Hao pulled a goal back to the host ensure a nervy late period but Jordan took the points.