Garang Kuol scores first Australia goal as World Cup feelgood factor continues

Australia drew a line under their World Cup exploits and gave a glimpse of the potentially bright future that awaits them with an impressive 3-1 win over Ecuador.

Socceroos boss Graham Arnold has spoken of wanting to use last year's round-of-16 exit as a springboard towards the 2026 tournament.

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And the crowd of 20, 268 at CommBank Stadium in Sydney got an insight into what lies ahead over the next three-and-a-half years.

Australia's opening two goals on Friday came from experienced campaigners in Jackson Irvine and Awer Mabil in a typically spirited and workmanlike showing.

But the real moment of excitement came late in the second half when 19-year-old debutant Alex Robertson kickstarted a move which led to fellow teenager Garang Kuol grabbing his first international goal.

Uncapped Melbourne City midfielder Aiden O'Neill was the only player in Arnold's starting XI who didn't go to the World Cup and it allowed Australia to quickly get into their rhythm.

One nice break from Mitchell Duke failed to yield a goal but the forward was causing all sorts of issues for the Ecuadorians, and it wasn't long before he set up Irvine for Australia's opener.

Duke slid low to turn a Craig Goodwin free kick back across the six-yard box in the 12th minute and Irvine was given the simplest job to tap in.

Replays showed Duke was offside but with no VAR in use, Australia had the lead.

Ecuador hit back quickly with defender Felix Torres rising above Irvine to head a 23rd-minute cross from Jeremy Sarmiento past Mat Ryan to draw the South Americans level.

Sarmiento's night ended when he limped off with an injury on the half hour mark and Australia were able to re-establish an advantage soon after when they caught the visitors out at the back.

Defender Piero Hincape had a ball snatched off him by a pressing Irvine and the midfielder was able to tee Mabil up in the box.

The winger powered the ball into the back of the net and Australia looked promising.

Duke was at his bustling best and the forward could consider himself unlucky to have not scored on his return to Sydney's west.

The forward was taken off soon after the hour mark with hardworking midfielder Keanu Baccus at the expense Wanderers forward Brandon Borrello and Robertson.

Robertson, who has yet to start a senior game for Manchester City, looked assured on his maiden Socceroos outing and it was his intricate build-up play that began a move for Kuol's goal.

Robertson charged down the left exchanging passes on the way before finding Aziz Behich, whose cross was tapped in by Kuol.