While the Socceroos did not manage to take a result away from Japan, goalkeeper Mat Ryan delivered a stellar set of individual performances over the last international break.
Australia prevailed 3-1 over Oman, before losing narrowly to the Blue Samurai by a solitary late goal.
Ryan spoke of the hurt he and the side felt after the defeat to Japan, but it is hard to fault the Real Sociedad shotstopper's Player of the Match-winning performance.
As he continues to adjust back to life in Spain, Ryan has continued to show his immense quality in the Green and Gold.
He made eight saves across the two games in the previous set of international fixtures, but it isn’t just Ryan’s shot-stopping that’s excelling for Australia.
The current captain’s class, composure and anticipation have allowed the Socceroos to play a more possession-based style of football with the ball, and a more proactive one without it.
Ryan has made 109 passes across the four matches in the Asian Word Cup Qualifying third round - an average of 27.25 per game.
His passing accuracy of 83% is the highest of any goalkeeper in the competition and demonstrates how the Socceroos look to play out from defence.
Meanwhile, Australia’s defensive line is able to sit higher on the field, press and compress play due to Ryan’s ability to cover ground, anticipate passes and sweep in behind.
The Socceroos have forced 93 high turnovers this year in Asian Qualifiers, indicating their ability to press and counter-press in advanced positions.
This comes from having a high defensive line, which in turn is achieved when having a solid, dependable sweeper keeper.
Only Mohammed Alowais has made more accurate keeper sweepings (four) than Ryan’s three made in the third round of qualifiers, with both maintaining a 100% keeper sweeper accuracy.
Ryan starred in both of the Socceroos’ previous games against Oman and Japan, with the stats signalling him out in different ways across the matches.
Against Oman, the Socceroos custodian was commanding in his area.
Oman looked to loft high crosses or passes into the box, but they were restricted to just nine throughout the game - none of which were successful.
Ryan made three catches against Oman, with only the Saudi keeper Alowais bettering that number, making four against that same opponent.
When playing Japan, Ryan kept the Socceroos in the match on numerous occasions and ended with five shots saved from the six on target.
Only two goalkeepers, Mostafa Matar of Lebanon and Yan Junling of China (both with six) have bettered that record, with Junling making his six stops against the Socceroos.
Ryan will look to continue his form in November, when the Socceroos face Saudi Arabia and China in two more huge qualifiers next month.
Football Australia are in advanced discussions with the NSW Government to ensure the Socceroos make their first home appearance in almost two years against Saudi Arabia, on the 11th of November.