Australia's road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup has become a little less certain after the Socceroos were upset by Jordan in a crucial qualifying match this morning (September 12).
Jordan went into the match understrength and missing several key players, and the stage looked set for a dominating performance from the Australian side.
But a controversial penalty in the 49th minute gave Hassan Abdel Fattah a chance to give his team the lead, and the 30-year-old midfielder made no mistake.
In front of an energised home crowd, Jordan played far better than their FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of 87th would suggest. A fantastic counter-attack in the 71st minute set Amer Deeb up for an easy goal and suddenly the 25th ranked Australians found themselves staring down the barrel.
Archie Thompson scored a late goal to add some level of respectability to the scoreline, however there's no denying that the 2-1 loss will be an incredibly disappointing result for the Socceroos.
"Right now it's very difficult to describe the disappointment," said Australian coach Holger Osieck in the aftermath of the defeat.
"In the second half we tried very hard, we could have scored but when we can't capitalise then you can't blame anybody else but us."
While the Australian's were well below their best, playing too many long balls and passing poorly, there's no doubt that the Jordanian team deserved a hard fought victory in which they were more than willing to put their bodies on the line.
The Socceroos now face a significantly greater challenge if they are to qualify for Brazil 2014.
Playing in group B of the Asia qualifiers, Australia is tied with Iraq and Oman on two points after registering two draws and one defeat so far. Japan is in first place with ten points while Jordan now moves into second on four points.
Only the top two teams will qualify straight to the 2014 World Cup, while the third place finishers from group A and group B will playoff for the final spot.
The Socceroos now face a must-win match against Iraq on October 16 if they are to keep their World Cup dreams alive.
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