Recent history with Iraq ensures Australia is on high alert as it looks to give its 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign a badly-needed boost.
Australia heads into Tuesday's (Wednesday AEDT) qualifier in Doha knowing a loss to Iraq could put its quest to reach a third successive World Cup in Brazil in serious jeopardy after last month's shock loss to Jordan.
Coach Holger Osieck's side is favourite to claim three points at the neutral venue in Qatar but Iraq has proved stubborn opposition for it in recent years.
At senior and restricted age level, Australia is yet to defeat Iraq in regulation time in matches played away from home.
The Socceroos did win their last clash at the 2011 Asian Cup but only after Harry Kewell scored deep into extra time.
The sides split their four clashes prior to that with Iraq prevailing in matches in 2007 and 2008 and Australia winning home games in 2005 and 2008 by a single goal.
"I can't remember an easy game against Iraq," said Socceroos midfielder Carl Valeri, whose first encounter with Iraq with the Olyroos resulted in a 1-0 loss at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
"I can't remember an easy game in Asia in general but Iraq are definitely one of the toughest opponents we've come across."
While the Socceroos have been in camp in Doha for several days, Iraq won't touch down in the Qatari capital until Friday.
Iraq's 30-man squad is in Sweden preparing with a glamour friendly against 2014 host Brazil on Thursday (Friday morning AEDT).
Iraq's game against the five-time world champion will boost the match sharpness of an ageing line-up that still boasts some of the country's most celebrated football talents.
Goalkeeper Noor Sabri, defender Bassim Abbas, midfielders Nashat Akram and Qusay Munir and striker Younis Mahmoud - collectively the spine of the Iraqi line-up - can count close to a staggering 500 international caps between them.
"They're a very difficult team and they have a lot of games together as a unit," said midfielder Mile Jedinak, who started in the Asian Cup triumph over Iraq last year.
"They're almost like a club team in a sense because they have so many caps together, the majority of them.
"We know we did it last time, in a tough game in the Asian Cup.
"I think we deservedly won that game and hopefully more of the same will come next Tuesday."
Australia is third in its five-team qualification group with five matches still to play.
The top two qualify directly for the Brazil showpiece event - though Japan already looks on track for top spot - with the third-placed team needing to win two sudden-death play-offs.
Valeri said the mood within camp in Doha reflected Australia's situation.
"We're all pretty focused. It's not so much about catching up [with each other] this time," Valeri said.
"We always like to have a laugh but this time it's more serious.
"We know what's at stake here."
Borussia Dortmund's Mustafa Amini is among a 26-man Australia U-20 squad selected for a European training camp this month that will include internationals against Netherlands and Germany.