For the second time in a week the Socceroos have fallen short of recording a much needed win.
Against Japan in Brisbane last night, the Socceroos fought back to secure a 1-1 draw, four nights after finishing 0-0 against Oman away from home.
The result against Japan is already being regarded as a classic Australian back-to-the-wall performance, mainly because Japan were considered the favourite pre-match and that the Australians were forced to play with 10 men after substitute Mark Milligan was sent off for a second yellow ten minutes after half-time.
Japan scored 10 minutes after Milligan’s dismissal when star midfielder Keisuke Honda set up Yuzo Kurihara, but the Aussie equalised five minutes later when the referee awarded a penalty for a holding call for a corner kick. It was a questionable decision to say the least, but it has given Australia a good chance at a third successive World Cup appearance.
Oman and Iraq also played a one all draw last night meaning the three teams are all tied for second place in Group B with seven points. Japan leads with seven after winning their first two games.
Two teams from the Oceania region will qualify for the World Cup with a third on offer in a play-off situation with the other regions.
The boys played in Muscat last Friday and drew 0-0 with Oman but the game also featured some controversy.
Veteran keeper Mark Schwarzer was furious that the teams were force to play the games in extreme conditions.
The game kicked off at 5pm local time when the temperature was at 43C when it would have been possible to delay the game an hour or so when the heat had cooled off dramatically. Schwarzer believed the decision to delay kick-off was delayed because it gave the home team a slight advantage.
To top things off, Schwarzer warned the referee before the match about a fan that flashes a laser pointer at Australian players during the game. The referee took none of it despite it having happened before and once again during the match.
Schwarzer was seen having an animated discussion with Asian Football Confederations match commissioner after the match.