The Socceroos found out overnight that to qualify for the 2018 World Cup finals, they will have to go through the playoffs, after Ange Postecoglou’s men ended third in Group B.
With the final automatic qualification spots and third places now finalised in Group A and B in the AFC, their fate was sealed when Saudi Arabia finished second, after Fahad al-Muwallad’s right-foot shot after 62 minutes secured their 1-0 win over Japan in Jeddah.
This now leaves Australia with a dreaded two-leg home-and-away qualifying route through Asia and North or Central America, to book a spot at a fourth straight World Cup.
Their first matches will be on the 5th and 10th of October against Syria, after the war torn country scored a dramatic injury time equaliser against Iran to retake third spot in Group A with a 2-2 draw in Tehran.
If successful at this stage they will face a fourth placed North American team likely to be either Panama, Honduras or US whom they will play during November.
Postecoglou’s news conference speech followed down the lines of his post match speech the previous day, dismissing the criticism he has encountered regarding his game play.
“My position is I’m coach of the national team … I’ll see it through. The Australian football industry chewed me up and spat me out 10 years ago so this is nothing new,” he said.
“It doesn’t change my conviction of what I think is right for our game and our country and I’ll see it through.
“I love watching that team play, my team play, our team play.
“People can have their judgments of me … I won’t be pushed into the shadows of Australian football history like others.
“The style, the approach is what works for us and what will work for us.” Get our football predictions here.