Socceroos legend John Aloisi is refusing to draw a line through Australia's World Cup qualifiying hopes and is optimistic about the next generation of players.
Socceroos legend John Aloisi is keeping faith that Australia can qualify for this year's World Cup.
The hero of the playoff shoot-out against Uruguay in 2005 which ended a 32-year wait for Australia to reach a World Cup finals is backing the current team to make it five tournaments in a row by reaching Qatar 2022.
Australia's disappointing 2-2 draw with Oman in Muscat early on Wednesday morning means Graham Arnold's team are facing a mountain to qualify automatically.
With two games to play - against second-placed Japan and group leaders Saudi Arabia - Australia are three points outside the automatic places in Group B.
Arnold's men will have to beat Japan in Sydney on March 24 then travel to Saudi Arabia and upset the Green Falcons on their home soil to have any hope of finishing in the top two.
More likely is a third-place finish and a playoff against the third-placed team in Asia's other qualifying group, with the winner of that tie to face the fifth-place finisher in South America's qualifiers for a spot at the World Cup.
Aloisi is preferring to be optimistic and expects the Socceroos to throw a cat among the pigeons when they host Japan at Stadium Australia.
"I still believe that we will beat Japan in Australia and then the last game is in our hands," Aloisi said.
"That's the way that I'm thinking as a supporter.
"I'm sure Arnie as a coach and the players are thinking the same way.
"Let's not jump too soon and say we're not going to qualify and it's all negative for us.
"I still think that we have to look at what we're trying to do, the players that are coming through, the players that have come into the side and hopefully we still qualify."
Australia's struggles in qualifying have raised concerns about the quality of talent the country is producing.
Aloisi was one of several Australians to feature in the English Premier League during his playing career as part of the so-called 'Golden Generation'.
Currently there is not one Australian playing in what is regarded by many as the top division in world football but, on that front, Aloisi is also keeping a positive mindset.
"We've got some really good young players coming through," he said.
"Riley McGree is one of them. Connor Metcalfe is another one. And Nathaniel Atkinson's gone over to Europe as well.
"We just have to look at that Olympic side that we had - (Marco) Tilio coming through.
"Yes, we would like players to be playing at the highest level in the European leagues but they're not far away at the moment.
"I think that in the near future, you'll see a couple of players playing Premier League football and then everyone will be excited again."
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