SYDNEY • Harry Redknapp came down to earth with a bump in the second match of his cameo as an international manager yesterday when his Jordan side were thrashed 5-1 by Australia - a result which almost ended their hopes of qualifying for football's 2018 World Cup.
The Englishman started his two-match spell in charge with an 8-0 thumping of Bangladesh last Thursday, but admitted yesterday that there had been a gulf in class between the Socceroos and his team at the Sydney Football Stadium.
However, despite the little time he had spent with the squad and the lack of support around them, the 69-year-old was reluctant to blame his players for the defeat.
"The players did their best," he said. "We all did our best but what can you do? I've been here five or six days, what can you do?
"I can't suddenly bring in Ronaldo. The players tried their best but they were beaten by a better team.
"If Australia played Spain next week, they'd probably get beaten by four or five goals because that's the way the game is; Spain have better players."
Redknapp, who was invited by Jordanian FA chief Prince Ali Al-Hussein to take charge for the two matches, is keen to continue in his role, despite his job as an adviser at English club Derby County.
But he said that plenty needs to change if Jordan are to qualify for a World Cup for the first time.
"The set-up needs so much work," he said. "We've got no analyst, we don't have anything on the opposition, we don't have a sports scientist. The players are short of fitness, so, when they play against better teams, they struggle."
Tim Cahill scored twice, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo once each as Asian champions Australia secured top spot in Group B and eased into the final round of Asian qualifying.
Jordan, who had inflicted the only defeat of the campaign on the Socceroos, found the net through substitute striker Abdallah Deeb but were left relying on other results to retain a slim hope of progressing as one of the four best runners-up.
Australia's victory sent Syria through with one of the runners-up spots and they both joined Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Japan, Thailand and South Korea in securing places in the 12-team third qualifying phase, from which four countries will earn tickets to Russia in 2018.
"It was good," said Australia coach Ange Postecoglou, whose side also booked a spot at the 2019 Asian Cup. "Against a side everyone acknowledged was a tough opponent, we were dominant from start to finish. We probably should have scored five or six more."
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE