In hindsight it was Australia's failure to finish off Saudi Arabia away (where the hosts equalised late in a 2-2 draw), Iraq away (another draw, another late leveller, this time 1-1) and most grievously of all Thailand in Bangkok last November, a 2-2 draw, which hurt their chances so much.
Ange Postecoglou's men are now reliant on Group B victor Japan avoiding defeat in Saudi Arabia early on Wednesday morning (AEST) in order to join Vahid Halilhodzic's side in Russian Federation.
With Japan already qualified, and Saudi Arabia just one home game away from an automatic spot in Russian Federation, there really is no favorite.
The victor of next month's two-legged playoff between Syria and Australia will face a team from the CONCACAF confederation covering North and Central America, and the Caribbean for a World Cup spot.
The top two teams of Group A and Group B receive automatic entry to the World Cup, and the two third-place teams go into a play-off with the winners facing a Concacaf side for another berth.
The Ruler of Dubai said on his Twitter account, "Congratulations to the men of the Kingdom for qualifying for the World Cup 2018".
"The players didn't get their rewards for a brilliant performance".
"It's heartbreaking for the players".
"We had fatigue and the long travel, heat and humidity played a part but it is true that weren't explosive enough".
"I took the role to do it a certain way and I'll see it through", he said "The Australian football industry chewed me up and spat me out 10 years ago".
Tim Cahill insists the Socceroos are good enough to compete at the World Cup, even though missing out on sport's biggest showpiece is now a distinct possibility.
Postecoglou said that he had never been involved in a more lopsided game. They've done everything I've asked of them.
"We have to take it on the chin". We've just sat here saying "ok, ok" but it wasn't just about tonight, this is about all the games.
Australia had gone into their meeting with Thailand knowing they needed to win by a large margin to put pressure on Saudi Arabia, who were hosting Japan in Jeddah several hours later.
Ange Postecoglou says he won't bow to pressure from Socceroos critics after former players and analysts suggested his time as coach was up.
"It was right in the middle of qualification where, it wasn't plain sailing but we looked comfortable".
'To be fair it's a mess and the players think we are against them!
But there's no appetite at FFA to change coaches, and it won't be happening before Australia's World Cup fate is sealed.
"I don't know how many times we hit the post".
Postecoglou found himself in the firing line again after Tuesday night's Thailand match, with Fox Sports football expert Mark Bosnich especially scathing.
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