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Jun 10, 2013

Young Socceroos enjoy NZ win

The Young Socceroos' classy 5-0 win over New Zealand in their final World Cup warm-up game has been tempered by news of a potentially serious injury to key midfielder Terry Antonis.

Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart netted a hat-trick while substitutes Jamie McClaren and Ryan Edwards also got on the scoresheet as the home side fine-tuned their game for the under-20s tournament starting in Turkey on June 21.

However, coach Paul Okon's major concern after the match was a quadriceps strain suffered by Antonis, with the Parma-bound midfielder forced off just prior to halftime.

Okon described Antonis' injury as "not looking good", with the 19-year-old's World Cup hopes likely to be known on Monday.

"His injury is the only sour part of the afternoon, which otherwise was brilliant," Okon said after the match in Wollongong.

"Hopefully it is not too serious but whoever would be to come in, will provide an opportunity for them and hopefully they will take it.

"I'm very happy with the performance.

"We scored some great goals, created a lot of chances. We leave for Turkey now full of confidence."

Taggart broke the deadlock after just four minutes following neat approach work from Connor Pain.

The Young Socceroos consistently impressed with their sharp passing and swift ball movement, and duly doubled their advantage on 19 minutes.

Taggart curled a perfectly placed strike into the top corner after being allowed too much latitude by the New Zealand defence.

Pain and Taggart both narrowly failed to extend the advantage as Australia threatened to run riot.

It wasn't until five minutes before the interval that New Zealand had their first major sight of goal with Van Ella forcing a sprawling save from Young Socceroos goalkeeper Paul Izzo.

The second half started exactly the same as the first as Taggart converted from close range with Jason Geria providing the assist having entered the field as a halftime substitute.

The one-way traffic continued throughout with substitutes Jamie Maclaren and Ryan Edwards on the scoresheet after both converted with perfectly hit strikes.

Australia will open their under-20 World Cup campaign against Colombia on June 22 in Trabzon, before further group outings against El Salvador and the host nation.

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