Australia has much to do in order to earn its place in Brazil after a 2-1 defeat to Jordan in a 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
Hassan Abdel Fattah and Amer Deeb's second-half strikes sealed Australia's fate as the Socceroos were ultimately unable to match the unrelenting intensity of their less-fancied opponent.
Archie Thompson's late strike - his second goal in as many games - was all Australia had to celebrate on an evening when its treacherous World Cup journey was underlined emphatically.
"The disappointment is enormous," coach Holger Osieck said after the match.
"We had a very, very poor first half, we didn't get into the game, our passing was a disaster, we never could get into our normal rhythm.
"We played a lot of long balls and I don't know why that happened. There was not enough movement in midfield. It was definitely a very poor showing in the first half.
"In the second half we tried very hard, we could have scored but when we can't capitalise then you can't blame anybody else but us."
An uneven pitch and a Jordan side outstanding in its willingness to launch bodies at the ball made dictating play nearly impossible.
Indeed, Australia's prime creative outlet, Mark Bresciano, was withdrawn at the break - albeit due to injury - having been virtually bypassed throughout the first half due to the Socceroos' pragmatic direct approach.
Hassan's opener on 50 minutes came after substitute Mile Jedinak was ruled to have fouled Odai Al Saify just inside the penalty area.
Australia's woe was compounded when Amer Deeb doubled the host's advantage 15 minutes from time with a sharp finish after some great lead-up from Al Saify.
Thompson's classy finish close to full-time was a mere consolation, with the defeat leaving Australia's World Cup fate very much in the balance with five matches to play in this qualification stage.
After four match days, the Socceroos have two points and trail runaway leader Japan by eight, though Japan has played one match extra.
With the top two teams from Australia's Group B to earn an automatic passage to Brazil, the race to join Japan looks set to be between the Socceroos, Iraq, Oman and Jordan, the latter of which currently occupies second place with four points.
Australia's next qualifier - playing former Asian Cup champion Iraq in neutral Doha - has taken on an added edge given the Socceroos' now desperate need for qualification points.
"Ultimately the job is to get the points to go to Brazil and he (Osieck) has to pick a team he feels will get maximum points now," captain Lucas Neill said after the match.
"We've got to keep believing and stay positive. There's plenty of points to play for, but if we perform like we did tonight it's going to be difficult."
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