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Pressure peaks on Ange Postecoglou’s Socceroos in era-defining Syria clash | Kieran Pender

A dozen years since the Socceroos made it to their first World Cup in three decades, the momentum that has sustained the game is at risk of dissipating

It is remarkable, given the Socceroos’ long history of not qualifying for the World Cup, that the prospect of defeat to Syria on Tuesday evening seems so unfathomable. Australia have participated in only four of the 20 World Cups held since the tournament’s inception; until 2006, the Socceroos had qualified just once.

Yet since joining the Asian Football Confederation, qualification has swiftly become the expected norm. The Socceroos were a class above distant Tajikistan and tiny Bhutan, so it was thought, and a ticket to Fifa’s biggest quadrennial event was now a formality. Even regional heavyweights, like Japan and Saudi Arabia, could be no match for Tim Cahill and company.

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