Australia 3 - Qatar 0

Early days, but happy days.

As far as a world cup campaign launch goes, this this was just about as good as it gets; three nil, three points and three cheers.

After the disappointment of the Socceroos showing at the Asian Cup, Australia, collectively, can breath a little easier. So our team can play!

Tellingly, the damage was done early. Pim Verbeek promised goal-getters and he delivered, pairing Kennedy with McDonald up top, with the king of midfield goal-getters Cahill lending aerial thrust from behind.

Not surprisingly, with such aerial power, the modus operandi was to utilise the fullbacks, Emerton and Carney, and charge them with the responsibilty of getting plenty of ball into the box for Kennedy and Cahill to attack.

Both got on the scoresheet within the first 20 minutes, Kennedy after a brilliantly patient build-up which saw the ball moved swiftly from the right, to the left, back through the middle and out to the right again, where Emerton provided a pin-point ball to take the weight of Pim's and the nation's shoulders. Cahill soon had the chill-pills out again, getting on the end of an excellent Wilkshire set piece, catching the keeper in no-mans land.

Emerton was everywhere, dominating the right and feeding off the service of the tempo-setter, Culina, who had a field day in the holding role, moving the ball around from left to right, all with accuracy and pace.

In front of Emerton, Wilkshire, often maligned, had one of his best days yet in green and gold, always tucking in, lending support to Culina and allowing Emerton to bomb on. He even provided the odd thrust out of midfield, firing one shot just wide and drawing a save from another.

On the other flank Bresciano provided more width and linked up well with McDonald, while the movement of Cahill and Bresciano proved too much for the Qataris in the first period. Defending far too deep, they also showed the Aussies far too much respect, rarely getting close enough to make a challenge.

Bresciano soon found himself untracked and on the end of a neat square ball from McDonald. Bang, 3-0.

It could have been a few more, Kennedy forcing a good save at the near post, while Cahill kept ghosting in late, remarkably free.

At the back, the world cup duo of Moore and Neill were back in tandem for one last dance, the latter, entrusted with the armband, stepping on the ball, bringing back the memories. The former, Moore, was as relaxed as ever, the pity being that there aren't enough A-League games to keep him ticking over till at least the end of the first phase of qualifiers.

Moore will be missed, but at least he went out in style.

This was a brilliant first half performance, helped in part by Jorge Fossati's error in not starting the central midfield holder, Wasim Rizik, who made a positive impression for the visitors in the second period.

While Qatar were poor in the first period, it was great to see the Socceroos rekindle some of the vibrancy of Germany. A disorganised posse seven month ago, at times it was hard to recognise this in-synch and on-song mob, the movement of the ball and off the ball eye-catching.

While the team lost "power", to borrow Verbeek's phrase, in the second period, the damage had been done.

Verbeek must surely take much of the credit for moulding the team into cohesive unit in such a short space of time and making the right call in recalling the Europeans. Managers at this level live and die by their results and decisions, and for Verbeek, this was an emphatic first impression.

For now, having got off to the all-important perfect start on the road to South Africa, the FFA will also feel vindicated for sticking with the Dutch theme, and it was easy to see that infleunce all over the place here. While Verbeek, Henk Duut and Rob Baan were part of the off-field brains-trust, on the field there was PSV's Culina, Twente's Wilkshire and Feyenord old-boy Emerton, not to mention substitute Holman.

No doubt challenges lie ahead, but for now the Socceroos can take a bow and the rest of us rest assured our team are back, ready to have a crack at world cup qualification.

Written by Tony Tannous