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Socceroos star Tim Cahill admits the team's 2-2 World Cup qualifying draw with Oman could come back to haunt them as Australian media lashed the "listless and disjointed" display.
Brett Holman salvaged a point with a late long-range drive Tuesday evening but it left Australia in a precarious position and in danger of not making the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
With just the top two teams going through, they are third in Asian Group B on six points with Oman, seven points adrift of leaders Japan and a point behind Jordan, with Iraq still in the hunt on five.
Cahill, who scored the team's opening goal, predicted a long, hard road ahead.
"We had a game plan and we didn't stick to it," the former Everton player said.
"We didn't move the ball quick enough in the first half and at the end of the day this is what could make the difference between qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil."
Coach Holger Osieck admitted it was a poor effort, with the Socceroos needing to rally from two goals down, and tried to put a positive spin on the result.
"It was definitely not what we expected," he said.
"In the second half, I think you could see the spirit was back and the boys really tried to turn things around despite the fact we conceded that early second goal.
"I think we had other opportunities to score from but basically it's a 2-2 draw and we have to live with that right now."
With just three games to play, Australia now face the real possibility of not being on the plane to Brazil and the media said it was not good enough.
The Sydney Daily Telegraph called the performance "listless, disjointed and nervous".
"So much for the game Holger Osieck said Australia had to win," it said.
The Australian broadsheet was left wondering what went wrong with football writer Ray Gatt saying: "It wasn't supposed to be like this", adding that Osieck faced serious questions about his tactics.
"Last night was simply not good enough for a squad full of quality overseas-based players," he said.
Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, who was captain in the absence of the injured Lucas Neill, told ABC radio the pressure was now on heading into the next round of qualifiers in June.
"The performance wasn't great but what we can say is that the boys never gave up and that's the positive to come out of it," he said.