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Australia must score big against Thailand to qualify for the World Cup

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Australia's World Cup hopes are in dire straits following their disappointing performance in the World Cup qualifier against Japan last week.

The Socceroos were convincingly beaten by a 2-0 scoreline by their Far East opponents, and they must register a convincing win over Thailand in their final group game in order to qualify automatically for the World Cup.

Australia are currently behind Saudi Arabia on a goal difference of two with the same number of points (16) and they will have to beat Thailand by a comfortable margin - while hoping that the Middle East nation either drop points or win by a close scoreline against Japan.

One advantage for the Socceroos would be that they would be playing their game prior to the Saudi-Japan encounter, and a huge win could put immense on Saudi who suffered a somewhat surprising loss to the United Arab Emirates in their last qualifier.

Former Socceroo goalkeeper Mark Bosnich was pretty disappointed with the lack of effort in the 2-0 defeat in Saitama on Thursday, and he launched a scathing attack on the performance, he said: "We were well beaten ... we are far too predictable. Once again, we put (Tom) Juric and (Tim) Cahill on and still had to wait four or five minutes to get an actual decent cross into the box. The penetration was poor."

Australian head coach Ange Postecoglou also admitted that he was distraught by the defeat and took full responsibility for his side's lack of competitiveness against the Japanese. Aaron Mooy missed the previous game against Japan through illness, and his availability will be a huge boost to the Socceroos following his impressive form in the Premier League with Huddersfield Town, who remained unbeaten.

Despite having qualified for each of the last three World Cups, Australia have reached the knockout phase just once in Germany 2006 which they were unfortunate to lose out to Italy in the round of 16. The Socceroos are in a good position to qualify for the competition via the playoff round as well, but Postecoglou would want to avoid such an instance.