Australian World Cup hopes hanging by a thread

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Australia recently played in their sixth World Cup qualifying match against Japan at the Saitama Stadium and could only manage a draw. 

There will be mixed opinions on whether or not Australia deserved to draw this game, or if they should have won or even lost the game. 

They played quite poorly throughout, but did look quite dangerous when they attacked, particularly with some good vision and creativity with Aston Villa's Brett Holman.

Australia had found themselves a goal up, surprisingly some would say, but it does not matter how you get there, as long as you do. They stayed strong the whole game and did well not to concede until Keisuke Honda converted a penalty in second half stoppage time, after Australia took the lead through Tommy Oar just nine minutes earlier - seemingly giving the Socceroos a very important three points. 

However, Japan deserved something out of the game, but this was a very harsh ending for Australia who came so close to getting the job done. 

Japan got the point they needed that would see them to Brazil for the 2014 Fifa World Cup leaving Australia with even more work to do than they already had. After Oman's only goal of the the night in the other Group B game against Iraq through Ismael Al Ajimi, they got the three points they very much needed and leap frogged Australia into second place. 

Japan's spot in first can no longer be taken, so it's still between Australia, Jordan, Iraq and Oman to get those places that will take them through as they are all very close in points.

Every team will be wanting to avoid the third spot, as they will have to play a further two games home and away against the other team that finished third in Group A. 

The winner of those two games will advance to the intercontinental playoff where they will face a difficult challenge from the fifth placed South American team. A place where Australia have been before, most notably when they beat Uruguay in a penalty shootout to advance to the 2006 World Cup in Germany, which is no easy task.

Australia have a game in hand over Oman though and will be looking to overtake them when they play against Jordan, who previously beat them 2-1 in the first group meeting between the two. Australia will have the home advantage this time - they will be playing at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne On June 11. Two games left for the Socceroos, who have been struggling surprisingly considering the experience they have. 

The difference in points are only two with Oman on nine in second and Australia having seven just behind them in third. With Jordan also on seven points and Iraq still lurking and ready to pounce on five in fourth place, they can not lose or they may have to face missing out on Brazil 2014 unless they win their very last group fixture on June 18 against Iraq which will put even more pressure on them, even with the home advantage they will have. 

However, why does that have to mean they will not cope? The Socceroos have fought out of some of the most testing of times. Nervy moments coming up for their fans, but it does prepare for some fantastic Football.


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