Former Australia goalkeeper Mark Bosnich believes a lack of mental courage was at the heart of the Socceroos' shock 2-1 away defeat to Jordan in 2014 World Cup qualifier.
The defeat to 87th-ranked Jordan on Tuesday leaves Australia facing a fight to qualify for the finals in Brazil.
Australia have just two points from three matches in the final round of Asian qualifying, eight points behind Group B
leaders Japan, albeit with a game in hand.
In addition to questioning the players' resolve, he also had a dig at coach Holger Osieck's preparations.
"The biggest concern for me was that from a preparation point of view, they were not up for this game"
Former Man Utd keeper Marc Bosnich
"I assume that he (Osieck) told them to play the short balls," Bosnich said on Fox Sports.
"I think the players, mentally, after they'd been closed down five or six times, they didn't have the mental courage to do it and took the easy option.
"That's where it takes the brave player to turn around and say 'Come on, no matter what happens, keep giving me the ball."
Bosnich said the players simply were not ready for such a big match.
"The biggest concern for me was that from a preparation point of view, they were not up for this game," said the former
Manchester United keeper.
"That's the responsibility for the manager, to turn around and say 'Regardless if you're having a bad time you've got to be up for it."
Tough challenge ahead
Things could get even stickier for Australia with a difficult trip to Qatar to play 2007 Asian champions Iraq up next.
Iraq were beaten 1-0 in Japan on Tuesday but showed enough attacking threat to suggest they will be as much of a threat to Australia as Jordan, who were thrashed 6-0 by Japan in June.
"It was definitely a very poor showing in the first half," said Osieck.
"We played a lot of long balls and I don't know why that happened.
"Our passing was a disaster."
Second-half goals from Hassan Abdel-Fattah and Amer Deeb sealed Australia's fate, a late strike from substitute Archie Thompson providing little consolation for the visitors.
Australia, who qualified for the last two World Cups,reaching the last 16 in Germany in 2006, are still reliant on veterans Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer and Mark Bresciano and have yet to replace the likes of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Vince Grella.
"The good ship Socceroos is holed below the waterline," wrote Michael Lynch in The Age.
"Coach Holger Osieck has plenty of work to do if he is to stop it listing and then sinking."
Bosnich warned Australia's World Cup hopes were hanging in the balance.
"We've had a few wake-up calls during this qualifying campaign," he said.
"That's more than a wake-up call."