Australia's chances of qualifying for a third consecutive World Cup look considerably brighter after a comprehensive 4-0 home win over Jordan in Asian qualifying on Tuesday.
Midfielder Robbie Kruse scored one goal and set up two others as Australia earned the vital win and second spot in Group B, four points behind already-qualified Japan and one ahead of Oman.
Attacking midfielder Mark Bresciano scored in the first half and talismanic forward Tim Cahill found the net after the break -both off Kruse passes - while captain Lucas Neill claimed his first-ever international goal shortly before fulltime.
Australia must beat Iraq next Tuesday to be assured of advancing directly to the 2014 World Cup, while a draw will leave them at the mercy of the Oman-Jordan match the same day.
The top two teams in each group qualify, and the third-place teams advance to a playoff.
Two-time World Cup veteran and former Serie A playmaker Bresciano scored the opening goal in the 15th minute when he latched onto a lofted centering pass from Kruse to fire the ball past Jordan goalkeeper Amer Shafi.
The Australians quickly grew in confidence, applying growing pressure in the Jordanian half, peppering the goal with shots and forcing some desperate defense.
Jordan was able to threaten at times, with Shadi Abu Hashhash and Adnan Suleiman particularly dangerous, but the Australian defence was equal to the task and Bayer Leverkusen forward Kruse was constantly making inroads in counterattack.
After Australia made a sedate start to the second half, Cahill doubled the lead in the 61st when he stormed onto a Kruse pass to fire the ball in just in front of goal.
The Australians dictated play from then on, with Kruse fittingly finding the net in the 77th, and Neil put the game beyond doubt with a header in the 84th for his first goal in 91 appearances for Australia.