So, a 3-0 win for the Socceroos in London. It was by no means a complete performance, but was as much as you could ask from a team in transition, hurting from a couple of back-to-back body blows. The Canadians are now 12 games without a win, but there was still a job to do. Aurelio Vidmar has a 100% record in the national job, and will be pleased with the night's work.
Bresciano was the best on show, with the likes of Kennedy and Williams also catching the eye. Mitch Langerak's stock is most definitely on the rise. He showed he can do the simple and the spectacular, and with Ryan, the Socceroos have depth between the posts in the post-Schwarzer era.
The Socceroos were much tighter in the second half, and retained the ball better in midfield. Lucas Neill is on borrowed time - he was guilty of ball-watching and poor positional play, and looks a shadow of his former self.
A character-building win for the Socceroos, and a clean sheet to boot. Thanks for your company and see you in Rio!
Jackson Irvine is on, and swiftly brings out a smart save from Borjan with a low curler from just outside the box.
Just three minutes to go here at Craven Cottage, with Vidmar's Socceroos on for a nine-goal improvement, and a much-needed clean sheet. Mat Ryan hasn't had anything to do, with the Canadians abject in the second 45, but he'll take the credit on offer I'm sure.
On screen #2, Steven Gerrard finishes the job for England, who are off to Rio courtesy of goals from old hands Gerrard and Rooney. That'll be the group for Roy Hodgson. England 2 Poland 0.
A rare chance for Canada here, who have a throw-in deep in the Socceroos half.
AND THERE IT IS. SOCCEROOS 3 CANADA 0. Carney puts in a high, looping cross to the near post, and Matthew Leckie leaps highest, puts in an excellent header, and celebrates his first international goal. Carney had his head down, and just hit it high and hopefully, but Leckie was there and did his job. That'll do. The way Canada are defending, the Socceroos might just be on for a third consecutive 6-0 result.... maybe if they had another 20 minutes.
Still no sign of Cahill as yet. Vidmar also has Kruse, Ognenovski and Jackson Irvine in tracksuits.
And that third is coming here. Canada look abysmal this half. Without de Rosario or Hume on, Edgar is looking toothless and frustrated. Australia are growing in confidence - slowly but surely. They are still hurting from the successive 6-0 defeats, and are far from boisterous, but this is a decent balm. Socceroos 2 Canada 0
CLOSE! Almost the third there from McKay after good work form Leckie. Great save from Milan Borjan at point-blank range. A third would be the icing on the cake, and a nice little line on Vidmar's resume.
Rhys Williams is replaced - I'm pretty sure that was coming regardless of the knock he took to the knee about five minutes ago. He'll get a big tick on the report card - not a perfect performance by any stretch of the imagination, but a tidy enough shift. You can never miss the fact that he is playing. Oliver Bozanic comes on to add a branch to his family's legacy.
Yup, Williams is good to go. Bresciano is putting on a clinic here today, as he holds up his man, backs in and flicks on, taking the defender out of the equation for a ball down the wing. Would love to see him having a cameo in the A-League. There are a lot of young - and not so young - players who could learn from having him around a little bit more.
Williams goes in hard for a tackle - he opens up his leg to challenge for a 50/50 and takes the impact on the hinge. It looks like a sore one, but nothing terminal. He is down on the ground receiving treatment, but his expression suggests it will be a temporary position.
Bresciano is now terrorising the left back. He has been everywhere tonight, head and shoulders above anyone on either side. He finds Kennedy, but Edgar is there to cover, and the Socceroos have a corner. It comes to nothing. Matthew Leckie comes on for Josh Kennedy.
Twelve hours without a goal now for Canada. Their fans are going to curse the name of Mitch Langerak. And maybe Mat Ryan, although he is yet to get his gloves dirty ....
OOOH. Rhys Williams gets his name taken down for another tasty tackle. He's had three of those, and deserves to go in the book tonight. He'll have no need for another. Good shift from the terrier in the mid though.
My second screen shows a very nervy start to the second half from the hosts down the road at Wembley, where a Wayne Rooney goal is separating England and Poland in the crucial World Cup qualifier. Australia have 99 problems, but Rio ain't one.
The replay also has a hint of offside. The Socceroos are due a bit of luck though, to be honest.
They're fast starters this lot. That's two goals to the good now, and both came at the start of each half. Australia are suddenly playing with confidence and momentum. The defending from Canada was horrendous, and I'm not sure why there was a corner to the Socceroos - it appeared as if Bresicano's shot was simply wide - but there was adjudged to be a deflection. Regardless, 2-0 looks much healthier.
AND THERE IT IS! GOAL. Carney takes the corner, Rhys Williams scuffs a shot into the box, and Dario Vidosic stoops in front of the keeper and the slightest touch takes it over the line. Socceroos 2 Canada 0
CLOSE! That looked like number two. Great run from Rhys Williams. Matt McKay gets a half chance on the edge of the box right in front, hesitates, but the ball breaks to Bresciano, whose snap shot is just wide.
Excellent move there from Australia - their best of either half. Holland breaks up the middle, finds Bresciano, who feeds mcKay, Carney takes it to the byline and puts in a harmless near post cross, but the build-up was quick and clean. The Socceroos string some passes together and its a recipe for a direct entry into the box. A much more watchable start here.
A positive start to the half again from Australia - Bresciano starts where he left off, tenacious and bossy in the centre of midfield, but the loose balls are still hanging around like a bad smell. Canada have kept Kennedy out for the first minute of the half, so they'll be delighted with the improvement...
Good move by Viddie to give Ryan a run, any chance we can get Davidson at leftback too and end the Carney-age? — Kevin Airs (@KevinAirs442) October 15, 2013
And we're off again as Australia look to press home their one goal advantage. They are attacking left to right.
And, in fact, Mat Ryan is on for Mitch Langerak, who can now bank that clean sheet.
As we inch closer to the second half, the Canadians have made a pair of changes - with Cebara on for Ledgerwood and Teibert for the profligate de Rosario. And now a third. Osorio for Hume. It looks like the Socceroos will line up with the same XI.
So, the kind of half you would expect from a team in transition. Bresciano has looked very adept around the box, and delivered the cross that led to the Josh Kennedy goal after 27 seconds. It sure helps that Canada are not pressing at all, but the Socceroos are still giving away the ball far too much in midfield and ball-watching in defence. The Canadians look lively on the counter-attack, and only two world class saves from Mitch Langerak have kept the sheet clean so far.
Rhys Williams is having a Jekyll and Hyde game, while David Carney will want to start all over again in the second half. It's all about getting the result here tonight though. A clean sheet and a win of any colour will do the Socceroos' psyche the world of good. Socceroos 1 Canada 0.
Bresciano zeroes in on Kennedy again, but his looping header is safely caught by a climbing Borjan. And that's the halfway point.
McKay almost slides one through the Canadian defence as the Socceroos find some urgency on the stroke of half-time. Williams skips down the right touchline as the defender commits himself horrifically, and de Rosario blocks the cross. We are into stoppage time, with a corner to Australia.
So, a couple of minutes until half-time here at Craven Cottage, as Bresciano drives towards the edge of the Canadian box. He plays a one-two with Vidosic, but the ball from Bresciano is nowhere near Carney, and the ball goes out for a goal-kick. Carney looking very patchy down the left.
In other news, our old friends England look like they will be joining us in Rio. Wayne Rooney has just put them 1-0 up against Poland, and on course for qualification.
Rooney hadn't really been in it....top players make the difference with big moments in games. Brazil, England are coming!— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) October 15, 2013
Smack on the bum for Rhys Williams after a clumsy lunge out to the left. Dangerous position to give away a set-piece. de-Rosario floats it towards nobody, and it's safe. Jedinak gets rid of it with a long high ball upfield to the Canadian goalie. Socceroos 1 Canada 0
Canada have a couple of cracks at getting the ball into the box, and with the second ball in (low, hard, dangerous) deflects off James Holland into the side net. We have a repeat, and this time Josh Kennedy puts it safely behind. The Socceroos eventually clear, but that was a little uncomfortable for anyone in a green and gold shirt.
That's handy. Rhys Williams pins back his ears and Jack-Wilsheres his way into the danger zone. He is brought down on the edge of the box. Carney dummies the free-kick, Bresciano takes it. It's hard. And High. Good work from Williams there though, he backed himself and made inroads. That's the kind of confident proactivity around the box that the Socceroos have been lacking so far. Better.
So, about a quarter of an hour here to halftime, and the lead is looking a bit precarious. What Vidmar wouldn't give for some breathing space and a second before halftime. He may only be a caretaker manager, but he is auditioning for the future, and will want a result here tonight that suggests he has one in the national setup.
Thank you, Mitch Langerak, for the clean sheet so far. #AUSvCAN — Ned Zelic (@NedZelic) October 15, 2013
There may only be a couple of thousand fans, but there is some audible booing being picked up here.
Another wonderful save there from Mitch Langerak, who palms over a point-blank header from Ricketts as Edger crosses and Lucas Neill watches on. Super save, that looked like the equaliser.
Our man in London Nick Miller reports that there are maybe a couple of thousand out at the ground tonight. Socceroos in pulling power shock....
Plenty of frustration here for Socceroos fans. They are playing with zero confidence, and are giving the ball away despite little pressure from the Canadians in midfield. The important thing here tonight is the result though. A clean sheet would go far too.
28' Socceroos with 63% of possession. Live stats: http://t.co/CqeXpbqlg3 #AUSvCAN #GoSocceroos — The Socceroos (@Socceroos) October 15, 2013
London Nick Miller reports that there are maybe a couple of thousand out at the ground tonight. Socceroos in pulling power shocker....
Bresciano has the ball in the back of the net, but it's a good three yards offside, and we'll stick at 1-0 to the Socceroos.
So, we're about halfway through the first half. The early goal from Josh Kennedy has coloured the narrative, but all up it's been a pretty ordinary 20 from both sides. Since the goal, Canada have come close twice - both after countering at pace after soft giveaways from the Australians in midfield. Mitch Langerak kept the sheet clean with a wonder-save, while de Rosario fluffed his lines on the second chance.
And now it's Canada's time to play keep-ball. De Jong takes it into traffic, is dispossessed, and then handed back possession by Rhys Williams. One for the purists, there.
We have had a sustained period of possession here from the Socceroos - not particularly speaking to their ball retention, but every time they lose control, the men in red gift it back. It ends with a tame shot from Vidosic, and we'll go again
Loving the extravagant gestures of Canadia's Spanish coach Benito Floro. Vidmar an iceman in comparison. Aust leads 1-0.#Socceroos — Jacquelin Magnay (@jacquelinmagnay) October 15, 2013
Close! Terrible giveaway by Mile Jedinak in midfield, Canada break at pace down the right as Hume feeds Edgar but the cross in along the ground spoons up off de-Rosario and goes harmlessly wide. Awful ball retention. A better cross, and that's 1-1 on another day. Warning signs. If the goal after 26 seconds suggested a rout, that counter at speed suggested the Socceroos are in for a game here.
That's 17 goals in 37 for Josh Kennedy. That's champion, that is. He is so important for Australia, he is key to the chances of getting out of the group in Rio.
So here's the updated starting XI for y'all: Langerak (gk), Williams, Neill (c), Davidson, Carney, Jedinak, Holland, McKay, Bresciano, Vidosic, Kennedy.
It got a little lost in the breathless start, but it's starting to settle in here, with plenty of sideways passing in the centre of the park.
Langerak! Boy wonder between the sticks. Surely our number 1 from now on. @Socceroos #AUSvCAN — Francis Leach (@SaintFrankly) October 15, 2013
James Holland with a robust tackle on Canadian flyer Tosaint Ricketts gives away a free kick about 15 yards out of the box. Kennedy and Rhys Williams are caught ball watching, Simeon Jackson has a shot on the half volley from five out, and Mitch Langerak leaps like a salmon for a world class save. Fair play, that looked for all momney like the equaliser. Awful defending, great keeping. Socceroos 1 Canada 0.
Crisis? What crisis? Give Vidmar the job. Great start from Australia here, that was a super header from Josh Kennedy. Good to see him and Bresciano combining well again. Corner to Australia after good work down the left. It's a harmless ball in, in front of a completely empty stand.
Unbelievable! That'll do! Bresciano crosses to Josh Kennedy, who hits the back of the net after 26 seconds! That was easy. Socceroos 1 Canada 0
Caretaker coach Aurelio Vidmar will be looking to get the Socceroos back on track early this morning against the world's 106th ranked side, Canada. He'll be without Tommy Oar, Luke Wilkshire, Mark Milligan, Tom Rogic and Brett Holman, but nobody said a victory here would be a formality. Any win, any way will be a big boost for the Socceroos.
Mat Ryan is likely to start in goal ahead of Mitch Langerak - at Mark Schwarzer's old stomping ground no less.
Tonight is all about giving the young bolters a chance, and we should get a glimpse of a few lesser known names - the likes of Jason Davidson, Rhys Williams, Dario Vidosic and Mathew Leckie should get a chance to have at least a run on in the green and gold.
Canada have failed to win in 2013, without a victory in their past 11 matches and without an international goal in 662 minutes.
The man to watch for Canada is DC United forward Dwayne De Rosario, who has a handy touch and a good eye for goal.
Expect a 2-0 win for the battered Aussies.