The Socceroos beat Palestine 5-0 in Perth on Tuesday night to finish their first phase of qualifying with a perfect six-from-six wins and a 22-0 for-and-against record.

Graham Arnold made his first substitution of the night, bringing on Apostolos Stamatelopoulos for his debut, making him Socceroo #644.

In a post-match interview, the Greek Australian spoke about what his first national appearance meant to him.

“It’s an incredible feeling, to represent the country that I was born in and grew up in, extremely proud moment for me,” he said.

It was something he has dreamed of since he was a kid.

“When I came back to Australia, it was obviously a goal of mine to play consistently but to get my cap as soon as it came, I was very surprised and happy about that.”

Originally from Adelaide, he agrees transitioning into the team has been easier with his fellow South Australian teammates.

“It’s made it a lot easier for me. All the boys that aren’t from SA are top guys as well, just a very great culture here and something I want to be part of in the future.”

“The intensity was definitely there, I’m just happy, only way to describe it, happy and proud.”

Despite Australia’s dominance, it was not enough for them to overtake South Korea in the world rankings, meaning they miss out on a spot in pot one for the next round of qualifying.

The significance of that is big, given that Australia will now have either Japan, Iran or South Korea in their group.

Only the top two teams from each group of six in the next phase will earn automatic qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

The teams who finish third and fourth will be thrust into another group stage, where the stakes will be higher.

With AAP