The Caltex Socceroos appear set for stern tests in November's twin friendlies after Korea Republic and Lebanon both made positive strides during the international break.
After winning Asian Games gold recently, Korea Republic continued their impressive run of form with two impressive performances under new boss Paulo Bento.
Despite skipper Son Heung-min missing a penalty, they still defeated Costa Rica and backed it up with a hard-fought draw against Chile.
Meanwhile, Lebanon's lengthy unbeaten run continued with a win over Jordan. It's all in our Opposition Watch below.
Bento era up and running
Paulo Bento made a fine start to his Korea Republic tenure with a comfortable 2-0 win over Costa Rica in Goyang on Friday.
Appointed in August as Shin Tae-yong's successor in August, the former Portugal and Olympiacos boss enjoyed a peaceful debut in the dugout thanks to goals either side of half-time from Lee Jae-sung and Nam Tae-hee.
Lee's opener came courtesy of a rebound from Son Heung-min's unsuccessful penalty attempt, the Tottenham star hitting the upright in what was his first senior outing since helping the Under-23s triumph at the recent Asian Games.
RELIEF: Son secures glory at Asian Games
Al-Duhail midfielder Nam later picked out the top corner to ice Korea's straightforward victory over their fellow FIFA World Cup™ participants.
Bento's maiden team selection included a recall for Germany-based striker Ji Dong-won, while Kim Seung-gyu deputised in goal for the injured Jo Hyeon-woo.
Korea shut out Chile’s star-studded attack
A well-disciplined Korean side kept another clean sheet and remain unbeaten under the new boss as they held South American heavyweights Chile to a 0-0 draw Tuesday.
While Manchester United star Alexis Sanchez was missing for Chile, they still boasted a strong line-up including Barcelona’s Arturo Vidal.
And it was Vidal who should have broken the deadlock in the second half, firing a close-range volley over the bar when it seemed easier to score.
Jang Hyun-Soo had Korea’s best chance to score midway through the second half, with his header from San Heung-Min’s cross going just wide of the post.
There was almost a stoppage-time winner for Chile when Diego Valdes raced clear and rounded the keeper, but screwed his finish over the bar from a tough angle.
There should be no underestimating Lebanon in Sydney after they stretched their incredible unbeaten streak to 16 matches with another pair of encouraging results.
Miodrag Radulovic's men, ranked 79th in the world, have not suffered defeat since a narrow 1-0 loss away to the Korea Republic in March 2016.
The run initially continued with a handy 1-0 victory at Jordan in the team's first outing for almost six months.
Berlin-born Omar Bugiel profited from a scintillating Hassan Maatouk run to drive in the only goal 13 minutes from full-time.
Lebanon were back in action on Sunday, grinding out a second straight clean sheet in a 0-0 home draw with Oman.
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