The Socceroos’ Confederations Cup fate is out of their hands after labouring to a 1-1 draw with Cameroon in St Petersburg.
Ange Postecoglou’s side played without spark against the African champions but earned a point when Mark Milligan converted a penalty to cancel out Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa’s first-half finish.
Australia now head to Moscow to play Chile, where they must win and have another result go their way to reach the semi-finals in Russia.
Once again, the Socceroos failed to produce a performance to be proud of, losing the bulk of the battles and the shot count 19-5.
They did at least start more confidently than in their first-up loss to Germany but their ascendancy faded, leaving only Cameroon playing with the urgency that the do-or-die match required.
Postecoglou managed to draw positives from both of Australia’s games so far.
“In both games, we’ve performed in the manner we want to,” he said.
“We’re still unfortunately having little lapses that are costing us, but that’s against the very best.
“For large parts of it we dictated the game. There’s certainly progression in there. And they didn’t give up. There’s spirit in this team.”
The African champions were superior both in the air and on the deck.
Impressive youngster Christian Bassogog enjoyed a couple of early sighters, exposing Milos Degenek’s lack of pace.
The Socceroo defender was then found wanting for the opener, when Zambo Anguissa beat him to a long ball and dinked an effort over rushing goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
It was no less than Cameroon deserved.
Australia picked up the pace in the second half.
Mat Leckie sent a pair of dangerous balls into the box but they were wasted by Tomi Juric and Tom Rogic.
The match swung again and on 57 minutes, Australia received a life.
Vincent Aboubakar sent a shot both narrowly wide and through Zambo Anguissa’s legs just a metre from goal with Ryan beaten.
The move should have put the game on Cameroon’s terms but instead, a driving run from Gersbach brought Milligan to the spot.
The impressive 20-year-old was brashly tackled in the box by Ernest Mabouka and the Australian skipper converted.
Postecoglou threw on James Troisi, Tim Cahill and Jackson Irvine looking for a winner.
It wasn’t to be, with only a result against the odds against tournament favourites Chile likely to save Postecoglou from criticism of the team’s showing in Russia.