City star Tim Cahill and the Socceroos will have to wait until the final round of qualifying to decide their fate for Russia 2018 after going down to Japan in Saitama on Thursday night.
Cahill came on as a substitute after 70 minutes for Tom Rogic in the 2-0 loss with the forward almost making an immediate impact off the bench.
Chances and supply dried up for the all-time leading goal scorer and the ‘Roos front line as the home side added a second goal to secure their passage to the World Cup.
With the Socceroos World Cup hopes in the balance, attention turns to Tuesday night for the final match of Group B against Thailand.
Despite the complex equation, the Socceroos target will be to win and win by as much as they can against the Thais at AAMI Park.
With the Saudis playing Japan at home, any points dropped by Green Falcons in that fixture and a win to the Aussies will mean automatic qualification to Russia.
If both Australia and Saudi Arabia beat their final day opponents, the Socceroos beat Thailand by a margin of two goals more than the Saudi’s win over Japan to secure a ticket to the final 32.
If all else fails, the Socceroos are in the box seat for a tricky third place playoff to head to Russia but all fingers will be crossed in Melbourne and Jeddah on Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.