Iraq v Australia
Date: Tuesday October 16 (local)/Wednesday October 17 (AEDT)
Kick-off: 5.15pm AST/1.15am AEDT
Venue: Al-Arabi Stadium, Doha
Played: 7, Wins: Iraq 2, Australia 4, 1 draw.
Australia 1-0 Iraq (AET), AFC Asian Cup, Doha, January 22 2011
Past five matches:
Brazil 6-0 Iraq, International friendly, Malmo, October 12 2012
Japan 1-0 Iraq, World Cup Qualifier, Saitama, September 11 2012
Iraq 1-1 Oman, World Cup Qualifier, Doha, June 13 2012
Jordan 1-1 Iraq, World Cup Qualifier, Amman, June 4 2012
Iraq 1-0 Sierra Leone, International friendly, Bagdad, May 24 2012
Jordan 2-1 Australia, World Cup Qualifier, Amman, September 12 2012
Lebanon 0-3 Australia, International friendly, Tripoli, September 7 2012
Scotland 3-1 Australia, International friendly, Edinburgh, August 16 2012
Australia 1-1 Japan, World Cup Qualifier, Brisbane, June 12 2012
Oman 0-0 Australia, World Cup Qualifier, Muscat, June 8 2012
Australia face the stark reality of missing the World Cup finals for the first time since 2002 but victory over Iraq on Wednesday morning (AEDT) would give the nation's hopes of reaching Brazil a major boost.
The Qantas Socceroos have already fallen eight points behind leaders Japan in Group B with five matches still to play in the final phase of World Cup qualifying.
After suffering a shock 2-1 loss in their most recent qualifying match, Australia remain winless in three games and sit two points adrift of Jordan, who occupy the final Wold Cup qualification spot.
While there are still 15 points up for grabs, the national team's performances have cast doubts over their chances of making the flight to South America in two years time.
The Qantas Socceroos' defeat to Jordan sparked Holger Osieck into action with David Carney, Sasa Ognenovski and Jason Davidson making way for Carl Valeri, Mark Milligan and Tommy Oar, with injuries also contributing to the changes.
And Osieck is confident Australia have enough quality at their disposal to secure the desired result in Doha.
"We know we are in a very special situation right now," Osieck said after naming his squad on October 3.
"This has become a crucial game but I'm very confident with the players available we can do it and get the points that we need."
The German is also expecting an improved display from the side's experienced players, who have come in for heavy criticism.
"I have to be very critical. I expect in particular from what you call senior players the guidance for the entire group and I will get that pretty clearly across when we have the opening of the camp in Doha," Osieck said.
"It's not enough to enter the pitch and do some stuff and after the final whistle you are relieved of your duties. It's ongoing, starting from the moment we arrive in our hotel to when we depart."
If Australia's veterans fail to deliver, the likes of James Holland and Oar will be itching at the bit to feature at Al-Arabi Stadium.
The Qantas Socceroos overcame Iraq 1-0 after extra-time at the Asian Cup in January last year but Osieck's men haven't had it all their own way against the Arabic nation.
Not only did Iraq hand Australia a 1-0 defeat during qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, they ran out 3-1 winners on their way to lifting the Asian Cup trophy in 2007.
Iraq, led by Brazilian legend Zico, will provide stiff opposition but their recent form has not been ideal.
Since capping off the third round of qualifying with a 7-1 demolition job of Singapore, Iraq have managed two draws and a loss to Japan in September.
While the Qantas Socceroos opted against a friendly match against the United Arab Emirates, Iraq travelled to Sweden to play world powerhouses Brazil.
And there were no surprises when the five-time World Cup champions emerged 6-0 winners in Malmo, although Zico made six changes to the starting line-up that played Japan.
Nashat Akram, who found the back of the net against Australia in 2007, was one of the players handed a starting role against the Brazilians and got some much-needed minutes under his belt.
Akram and captain Younis Mahmoud, who share over 200 international caps between them, will be at the cornerstone of any Iraqi triumph on Wednesday.