Socceroos smack Czechs for four

Ben McKay
Australia's Mat Leckie scored twice in the Socceroos' win over Czech Republic

The Socceroos have kicked off their final run-in to Russia with an emphatic 4-0 defeat of Czech Republic, inflicting the Europeans' worst-ever defeat in St Polten, Austria on Friday.

Mat Leckie scored either side of Andrew Nabbout's debut Socceroos goal before Milos Degenek's deflected effort completed the rout.

For a team badly in need of a confidence boost ahead of the World Cup, it was timely.

And for several players involved that are eager to sew up their places in the soon-to-be-finalised squad, it could be critical.

But for Dutch boss Bert van Marwijk, who experienced his first victory as Socceroos coach, it was merely a little milestone on the road to becoming a well-drilled side in time for their tournament opener with France in a fortnight's time.

"When you win, it's always better. It's good for the confidence," he said.

"It is also important for individual players, for example Nabbout that he scores a goal.

"We must not be too satisfied because we also make mistakes.

"The most positive thing is the defensive organisation during at the whole game.

"At the end I must say that I'm satisfied because when you win 4-0, but we have a long way to go."

The Socceroos flew back to their hot-weather training camp in Antalya, Turkey after the win, where they'll stay before another friendly on June 9 against Hungary in Budapest.

Before that, comes final decisions on their squad for Russia. The 27-man group needs to be whittled to 23 by Monday at the latest, meaning anxious waits for several players.

Nabbout can sleep a little easier after his showing, as can right-back Josh Risdon, who was singled out for praise by van Marwijk.

Daniel Arzani won a Socceroos debut but wasn't able to show off his skills in a six-minute cameo.

There will be anxious nights ahead for James Troisi, Nikita Rukavytsya, Fran Karacic, Josh Brillante - considered on the fringes of selection - who all didn't see action.

Those who did can look back on a good day's work, and Australia's biggest win in three years.

Tom Rogic set in train the opener - and Australia's best goal - after half an hour, sweeping it right for the overlapping run of Risdon.

The full-back swung in a deep cross which was cut back by Robbie Kruse for Leckie to race in and tap home.

On 55 minutes, Nabbout reclaimed possession and turned his man before striking home for a special moment.

The former Newcastle Jets winger was perhaps the only surprise in van Marwijk's starting XI, which also featured Mark Milligan at centre-back.

Leckie cut onto his left boot for Australia's third after 72 minutes before Degenek's cross was deflected in by Jakub Jugas eight minutes later.

The win was Australia's first success outside home soil since September 2016, 12 matches ago.

It is also Czech Republic's record defeat in their 24-year history.