Budapest (AFP) – An injury-time own-goal gifted Australia an uplifting send-off for the World Cup in Russia with a final warm-up 2-1 win over Hungary Saturday.
Young talent Daniel Arzani had fired the Socceroos into a 74th minute lead but a late Trent Sainsbury own-goal looked like granting the hosts a deserved draw until Hungarian defender Tamas Kadar returned the favour deep into added time.
Australia, set to make their fifth World Cup appearance in Russia four years after failing to get out of the group stage at Brazil 2014, face tournament favourites France in their opener on June 16 in Kazan.
Coach Bert van Marwijk’s men also face Peru and Denmark in Group C.
The Dutchman named an unchanged team from the side that routed the Czech Republic 4-0 in Prague last Friday but Australia failed to produce the same energy in the Hungarian capital Budapest.
Indeed it was limited but spirited Hungary who had the better chances for most of the game.
With Apoel winger Roland Sallai causing problems down the left, Hoffenheim striker Adam Szalai forced a point blank save from Mathew Ryan 10 minutes before the break.
Two minutes later Laszlo Kleinheisler clipped the top of crossbar with a volley from distance, while A-League-based defender Josh Risdon did well to clear a Tamas Kadar header off the line with the last action of the half.
After the restart, substitute Hull’s Jackson Irvine had an effort tipped over by Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi.
But as the game moved toward a draw the promising Arzani made a dramatic entrance, scoring his first goal for the Socceroos moments after coming on the field.
Cutting inside from the right the 19-year-old Melbourne City striker sent a dipping shot from outside the box that substitute goalkeeper Denes Dibusz let slip under his body.
Two minutes from the end the hosts looked to have a salvaged a draw when Australian captain Sainsbury turned an Attila Fiola cross past into his own net.
But a carbon copy deflection by Kadar at the other end in the 92nd minute triggered celebrations among the travelling support.
The Socceroos had not won outside Australia since 2016 until the Prague result, but now head to Russia with two morale-boosting warm-up victories in a row.