Net bulger: Mark Bresciano and the Socceroos celebrate scoring the opening goal against Jordan in Melbourne on Tuesday night.

Net bulger: Mark Bresciano and the Socceroos celebrate scoring the opening goal against Jordan in Melbourne on Tuesday night. Photo: Vince Caligiuri

Mark Bresciano and Robbie Kruse dominating the midfield and making the usually tight confines of Etihad Stadium look like their personal Simpson Desert.

Tim Cahill scoring with a trademark header, then mistaking the corner post for Nate Myles's chin.

Coach Holger Osieck selecting and marshalling his troops with reassuring certainty and urging them on with an Alsatian's bark.

Captain Lucas Neill improving his international scoring strike rate to a more imposing one goal from every 91 games.

The hilarious pantomime fury of tormented Jordanian goalkeeper Amer Shafi who was substituted in the 87th minute – presumably in an effort to protect his physical and mental wellbeing more effectively than he had guarded the visitors' goal.

It was a wonderful night for the Socceroos. A dominant performance against an overwhelmed opponent. Barely a discordant note – with the exception of a group of supporters who had brought back from Japan that country's incredibly annoying drone. A T-shirt will do next time.

All in all, it was the perfect way for Australia to qualify for the World Cup. Except, of course, they haven't. Not yet.

So rather than a raucous celebration, Australia's terrific 4-0 win left that uncomfortable old Oceania group feeling. One that should have been avoided. Because you could not marvel at how well the Socceroos played on Tuesday night without simultaneously lamenting how poorly they had performed over a significant part of their qualifying campaign.

Yes, yes, yes. The reasons, even some of the excuses, remain valid.

The improvement of the other teams in Asia. Although, as Jordan's campaign demonstrated, most remain far more formidable in their own backyards, and in their own tailor-made conditions than when asked to play on a cold night on a pitch pock-marked by the studs of the regular AFL tenants.

There is the difficult transition of an Australian team caught between a golden era and one that, until Tommy Oar's bravura performance in Japan and Kruse's Tuesday night clinic, seemed far less promising. A balance which Osieck, until his final two games, never seemed to get quite right.

Regardless of what it says about the Socceroos' long-term future, many of the players the coach inherited are still clearly best equipped to get the job done.

Neill is 35 and Sasa Ognenovski 34. Behind that pair stands Mark Schwarzer, 40. There are national teams with a lower average IQ than that trio's average age.

Yet for most of the night, the Jordanians seemed no more likely to breach this Fortress of Arthritis than they were to get contracts with Real Madrid.

Bresciano, 33, was left out of the game against Oman. As he glided across the pitch in the first half, the generalissimo of the midfield, his absence on that calamitous night seemed even more poignant. Because – even allowing for the late penalty in Japan – those two points against Oman are the ones the Socceroos should have in their pouch.

Victory over Oman would have meant a week being fitted out for green and gold fruit-bowl hats and making sure the team hotel in Rio had a swim-up bar. Not hunkering down for a match against Iraq they should win, but one made so much more difficult because they must. The comforting news for those still traumatised by the tragedies of the Socceroos' now distant past? The excellent form and momentum Australia will bring into the game.

The Socceroos seem certain to field an unchanged line-up for a third straight game.

The cohesion and rhythm such continuity creates was palpable against Jordan.

So too the energy generated by the crowd. There should be at least 60,000 at ANZ Stadium on Tuesday night. They will come to celebrate Australia's World Cup qualification, but first they must help their team achieve it.

That Iraq have nothing to play for will not necessarily make them easier to beat. Unlike Jordan, the Iraqis will not have to open up and try to score. They can pack their defence and hang on grimly hoping to gain some kind of perverse consolation by thwarting the home team.

With a rousing performance, Australia have a wonderful chance of automatic qualification. Unfortunately, so far, they have nothing more.