Tom Rogic has suffered a serious blow to his hopes of playing in the World Cup Finals next summer.
A 2-0 defeat from Japan today leaves Australia looking like finishing in third place in Group B.
The third placed teams in the two Asian groups face a two legged play off against each other with the winner playing off against the nation that finishes fourth in the CONCACAF zone for a place in Russia.
Rogic was replaced by Tim Cahill after 70 minutes with Japan leading 1-0 with the second goal in the 86th minute booking Japan’s place in Russia ahead if their final match away to Saudi Arabia.
Australia complete this stage of their campaign at home to Thailand on Tuesday needing to get a better result than Saudi Arabia manage at home to Japan.
If the Socceroos finish third they are likely to play off against Uzbekistan with the winner of that match due to play against Panama based on current standings.