HONG KONG - Anything less than a win against their toughest opponents North Korea on Wednesday (last night Fiji time) could spell disaster for Australia's East Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
The Koreans have burst out of the blocks in their bid to reach next year's showpiece, having already trounced Taiwan 6-1 and Guam 5-0.
Australia however, only just managed a 1-0 win over the 172nd-ranked hosts Hong Kong on Monday night courtesy of a late goal from veteran Brett Emerton.
But with only one team to advance to the finals, the Socceroos can ill-afford even a draw in Wednesday's marquee match, with North Korea's already superior goal difference putting them in the box seat to finish top of the ladder.
"It's pretty important to win this game," former Brisbane Roar star Matt McKay said.