Seemingly unassailable atop Group D in AFC World Cup qualification, the Socceroos will be hoping the shock loss to Oman was just a minor blip in their bid to advance to the next round.
Thailand v Australia Date: Tuesday, October 15 Kick-off: 6pm local time (10pm Tuesday AEDT) Venue: Supachalasai Stadium, Bangkok
Head-to-head Played 3, Australia 3 wins
Previous Meeting: Australia 2, Thailand 1, World Cup qualifier, Brisbane, September 2011
Past five matches: Australia: Oman 1, Australia 0, World Cup qualifier, Muscat, November 2011 Australia 3, Oman 0, World Cup qualifier, Sydney, October 2011 Australia 5, Malaysia 0, friendly, Canberra, October 2011 Saudi Arabia 1, Australia 3, World Cup qualifier, Dammam, September 2011 Australia 2, Thailand 1, World Cup qualifier, Brisbane, September 2011
Thailand: Saudi Arabia 3, Thailand 0, World Cup qualifier, Riyadh, November 2011 Thailand 0, Saudi Arabia 0, World Cup qualifier, Bangkok, October 2011 Thailand 3, Oman 0, World Cup qualifier, Bangkok, September 2011 Australia 2, Thailand 1,World Cup qualifier, Brisbane, September 2011 Palestine 2, Thailand 2, World Cup qualifier, Al Ram, July 2011
Analysis: Seemingly unassailable atop Group D in AFC World Cup qualification, the Socceroos suffered a minor blip in their bid to advance to the next round with a shock 1-0 loss to Oman in Muscat on Saturday.
It's hardly panic stations for Holger Osieck's men who need only a point against Thailand in Bankok on Tuesday to secure their place in the fourth round of qualification ahead of their final fixture against Saudi Arabia in February.
But Osieck's squad will travel to flood-ravaged Thailand without injured star Harry Kewell and with the gloss from five-straight wins well and truly scuffed by a plucky Oman outfit, who picked up all three points on the back of Amad Al Hosni's lone goal in the 18th minute.
Osieck had assured in no uncertain terms in the lead up to the two qualifiers that Kewell's Socceroos' selection was no longer guaranteed, with the Victory attacker's reported hamstring strain ensuring an early trip home to Melbourne for treatment and ending any immediate chances he had of reaffirming his importance to the Socceroos.
Kewell was replaced just before the hour-mark by former Victory striker Robbie Kruse in Muscat and was one of only three players, along with Mitch Nichols and Brett Emerton, to be selected from the A-League's base of players.
And while 22-year-old Nichols is merely looking for a chance under Osieck to kick-start his international career after a maiden cap in 2009, Emerton and Kewell form a veteran duo that are perhaps starting to embody a changing of the guard.
Emerton, given a leave of absence for recent matches with Malaysia and Oman in October, was only handed 16 minutes in the loss to Oman after coming on as a substitute for the injured Rhys Williams.
And with Kewell unavailable and Williams doubtful, Emerton will again be at the forefront of Osieck's thoughts.
It was an uncharacteristically disjointed performance under Osieck, who's plans to go through the group undefeated were left in tatters.
Oman's counter-attacking approach bore fruit and frustrated the Socceroos, who resorted to long balls in the second half after Luke Wilkshire's penalty claim was waved away and Brett Holman had a goal disallowed.
Thailand should not be readily dismissed either. For 71 minutes at least, they looked capable of picking up a point when the sides met in Brisbane for their opening qualifier in September.
Alex Brosque's goal four minutes from time was all that spared the Socceroos' blushes in a 2-1 win but they will face a much sterner test in the rain-soaked Thai capital on Tuesday.
Floods in Bangkok have forced a venue reschedule with the game moved from the National Stadium to the Supachalasai Stadium.
But that will do little to dampen Thailand's spirits who desperately need a win to revive their qualification hopes following a recent 3-0 loss to second-placed Saudi Arabia.
The Socceroos are still well and truly in the box seat with nine points, ahead of Saudi Arabia (five) and Thailand (four) in third, but both challengers can change the complexion of the group with wins.
The loss to Oman was only the second for the Socceroos on the road in Cup qualifiers since their doomed 2007 Asian Cup campaign, a tally their manager will not be looking to add to in Thailand.
Osieck's intentions were laid out when he selected a full strength squad for the two qualifiers, a second slip-up within a week, in Thailand, would not only extend the Socceroos' wait until February but also sow the seeds of doubt amongst the camp.
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