Socceroos not taking Iraq for granted

She'll be right ... Australia striker Archie Thompson (Getty)

Iraq might have been trounced 6-0 by Brazil, but the side insists that the side will prove to be a formidable opponent in next week's crucial 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Qatar.

Archie Thompson argues it wasn't so much that Iraq was off its game, it was rather that the Socceroos met a Brazilian side at the height of its power.

"I only watched the second half of it but what I saw of Brazil, how they made that Iraqi team look, it was awesome," said Thompson.

"You couldn't even take anything out of that game, for us it was just more of being in awe about watching how football should be played and how it could be played than what Iraq was doing.

"But the way that Brazilian team made them look, they made them look very average. But we know that the Brazilian team can make anyone look average."

The focus though is not on the South American side, but rather the Middle East nation who it faces in Doha on Tuesday (Wednesday morning AEDT).

The two nations have met in several high-profile fixtures since Australia's move to the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, notably in the group stage of the 2007 Asian Cup and in the quarter-finals of the previous tournament.

This Socceroos squad has a healthy regard for Iraq and in fact, Thompson, who played against Iraq at the 2007 Asian Cup, rates Zico's side so highly that he puts it on par with Asia's finest.

"Iraq for us is right up there with Japan. Definitely, I think in past matches it’s always been close and they’ve got some very skillful players."

But with both nations locked 8 points adrift of Japan, it appears certain that no more than one will directly qualify for Brazil and with this clash marking the halfway point of the qualifiers, things are starting to get incredibly tight.

"It's too early to call it a do-or-die clash, there's still so many points to be had and the majority of our games after this one are at home but we were very disappointed with the last game against Jordan."

"That for us was a game we were hoping to win coming into this one because it would have made things a little easier if we didn't get a result because we know that Iraq and Japan are probably two of the toughest teams in our group."

"The conditions are always hard when you come over to countries like this but we obviously want to win this game because it is getting quite tight up there and we need to start getting results but until mathematically we need to get points out of every single game then this isn’t be all and end all but like I said we want to get some kind of result."

Thompson is arguably one of Australia's most in-form forward options at the moment, having scored in both of the side's previous matches against Lebanon and Jordan, and some have been calling for the Melbourne Victory striker to start against Iraq.

"Any player would love to be out there starting or playing but whatever role Holger wants me to play I'm willing to play because I love playing for my country and I'm grateful that I'm here with any opportunity I can get."

"If my role in the team is to come off the bench and try to make an impact then so be it. I'm not going to say I should be starting this or that. I'm just grateful I'm here and whatever I can do for the team and what Holger believes is good for the team then I'll do it."

Source SBS