Clinical as you like
A disputed penalty, astute tactics and a sometimes-cagey performances, Australia had experienced it all before in their recent World Cup history facing a team in blue.
Three years ago at Germany 2006, the blue shirts were worn by eventual world champions, Italy. On April Fool's Day 2009, Uzbekistan were the opposing Blue Man Group.
But this time, the boot was on the other foot. The Socceroos got the timely spot-kick, executed their game plan to perfection and were more clinical than charismatic.
Kaiserslautern 2006 ended with a Francesco Totti injury-time penalty for a 1-0 heartbreaker. But Sydney 2009, thanks to Australia's Special K - Kennedy and Kewell - saw a satisfying 2-0 victory that has all but guaranteed Australia their third World Cup finals appearance.
In fact, had Bahrain not secured a 1-0 win at home to Qatar later on Wednesday then the Aussies would be the first nation to join hosts South Africa as World Cup certainties.
If coach Pim Verbeek was already a master of qualification, the phlegmatic Dutchman has now become the Dalai Lama of successful passage to major tournaments in the eyes of Aussie fans.
Some would consider him overly defensive by starting with Scott McDonald as a loan striker at home but The Pimster put strategy ahead of entertainment on a waterlogged pitch.
With the Aussies struggling to create chances, the Celtic front-man was replaced on the hour by Karlsruher beanpole Joshua Kennedy - some 21cm (8.5 inches) taller - and within six minutes the change produced results with Kennedy's headed opening goal.
Verbeek knew that the Uzbeks didn't face the 1.94m (6ft 4.5") Kennedy in the reverse fixture last September (won 1-0 by Australia in Tashkent). He provided an unknown and awkward challenge that the tiring visitors failed to cope with.
The 57,292 crowd would have been disappointed that Tim Cahill - under an injury cloud all week - was an unused substitute but you could bet your last Uzbeki Sum (their official currency) that the Everton man would have been thrown into fray if the central Asians had held on much longer.
A second goal seven minutes later settled the nerves after Hull midfielder Richard Garcia was brought down by Hayrulla Karimov. Despite the protests of the Uzbekistan players, referee Ali Al Badwawi, of the United Arab Emirates, pointed to the spot.
At the same Olympic stadium three-and-a-half years ago, Harry Kewell converted the first penalty in the World Cup play-off shoot-out against Uruguay (another team in blue). But he missed from the spot in the quarter-finals of the 2007 Asian Cup versus the Blue Samurai in Hanoi. This time, Australia's richest footballer calmly slotted the ball home and the victory was almost assured.
After being frustrated for the first hour, the Socceroos showed the maturity, poise and patience of a side from a country with a much richer footballing pedigree.
Australia may not yet have the expertise of grinding out results like Germany or Italy, but they're learning. Their first World Cup qualifying campaign through Asia has proven that they're certainly no longer the greenhorns of the beautiful game. This will help them in South Africa next year.
Mark Bresciano, with all his Serie A style, was head and shoulders above anyone else on the park. After spurning a 15th minute sitter, the Palermo midfielder was a creative inspiration - his cross led to Kennedy's opening goal - and a constant thorn in Uzbekistan's side. Right throughout this campaign, one of Australia's senior players - a Bresciano, an Emerton, a Kewell or a Chipperfield - has produced something special to lift the Aussies when it really counted.
Jason Culina, who moves from PSV to Gold Coast United at the end of the season, was also outstanding in his midfield-holding role, getting through a mountain of work.
Australia's second half was far better than its first and saw relative newcomers like Garcia, Michael Beauchamp and Carl Valeri grow in confidence. McDonald is still goalless after 11 internationals but did a brave job on his own up front before being replaced.
It is imperative that Verbeek persists with attack-minded players like McDonald and Garcia - and looks to experiment with the likes of Nick Carle and Nathan Burns - because this campaign, at times, has exposed Australia's lack of potency up front.
Verbeek clearly has a soft spot for AZ Alkmaar's Brett Holman, but he's still yet to convince the sceptics, scoring just once in 24 appearances wearing the green and gold.
And the door should still be left open for 2006 World Cup captain Mark Viduka. The oft-injured Newcastle United man turns 34 in October but he still plays the lone striker role better than anyone else holding a passport with the kangaroo and emu emblem.
With qualification now just about in the bag, the Aussies can reflect on a job well done: the successful execution of some carefully set goals. Four victories and no defeats in five matches with five clean-sheets is a remarkable record.
But now is the time for greater plans and bigger dreams to be put in place so these Socceroos can have a chance of bettering the admirable achievements of Germany 2006. The next 14 months leading up to South Africa 2010 promises to be an exciting time if you're a fan of Australian football.
• Australian-born Jason Dasey (www.jasondasey.com) is an international broadcaster and corporate host. He covered the 2006 World Cup and 2007 Asian Cup for ESPN.