The Caltex Socceroos are now just one point off top spot in Group B of their World Cup qualifying group after Japan were held by Iraq overnight.
A costly defensive mix-up involving Maya Yoshida saw Japan draw 1-1 against Iraq.
Yuya Osako's first-half header looked set to give Vahid Halilhodzic's men an important three points in the Group B clash in Tehran, but Mahdi Kamil capitalised on a mistake at the back to give Iraq a share of the spoils.
The result puts Japan a point above Saudi Arabia and Australia ahead of their final two matches against those two teams later this year.
Japan were held to an unconvincing 1-1 draw by Syria in a friendly match last Wednesday but they needed only eight minutes to take the lead at Shahid Dastgerdi Stadium.
Genki Haraguchi's shot was well saved at the near post, but captain Keisuke Honda's resulting corner from the right was glanced expertly by Osako over Mohammed Gassid and into the bottom-right corner.
Japan’s lack of ambition to kill off the match would ultimately cost them, as Kamil made the most of some dreadful defensive play to secure only a fifth point from eight matches for Iraq.
The Group’s other match saw Thailand and the UAE also draw 1-1.
Group B is now set for a thrilling conclusion.
The Caltex Socceroos have a trip to Japan in August followed by a home tie with Thailand.
Japan travels Saudi Arabia in their final match, while the Saudi’s also have an away clash with UAE.
Van Marwijk: Socceroos primed for must-win Peru clash
Bert van Marwijk says the Socceroos have the “physical power” to overcome any fatigue in Wednesday morning’s must-win clash against a “dangerous” Peru in Sochi. Australia faces Peru at 12am on Wednesday (AEST) - live on SBS and Optus Sport – knowing only a win will do if they
Press conference: van Marwijk and Ryan talk ahead of Peru clash
Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk and goalkeeper Mat Ryan have fronted the official pre-match press conference ahead of Australia’s must-win Group C clash against Peru in Sochi on Wednesday morning (AEST). Australia need to beat the South Americans and then hope France defeats D
Vale Andrew Dettre: FFA saddened by loss of Hall of Fame inductee
Football Federation Australia (FFA) is saddened to learn of the passing of legendary football journalist Andrew Dettre this morning. Andrew Dettre was born in Hungary in 1926 and came to Australia in 1949. From 1963 to 1982 he was the editor of Soccer World, a national news
Juric backs front line to fire against Peru
Tomi Juric has forged a career out of taking chances. An AFC Champions League match-winner for Western Sydney Wanderers in 2014, difference-maker for the national side in the 2015 Asian Cup. On the eve of the Socceroos' biggest match in recent memory, the 26-year-old is on