|By SACHA PISANI
Robbie Kruse has labelled the Australia's World Cup qualifier against Jordan a must-win encounter.
The Socceroos have made a winless start to the final phase of AFC qualifying in Group B after draws with Oman and Japan.
Holger Osieck's men are five points adrift of pacesetters Japan, and forward Kruse is well aware of what is at stake at King Abdullah International Stadium next Tuesday [Wednesday AEST].
"The public tends to think there are easy games because the nations aren't so highly ranked or anything like that," he said from Beirut, where the Socceroos are preparing to face Lebanon in a friendly before travelling to Jordan.
"But it's tough. The conditions are always hard, the travel and to adapt to the field and the referees is always difficult.
"So we are under no illusions that it's going to be tough.
"We need to get the three points because it's getting close to the point now where we have two draws from the first two games, so it's vital for us to win the next one."
At club level, Kruse has enjoyed a promising start to the Bundesliga season with newly-promoted Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Dusseldorf are unbeaten in their opening two games, which included a 2-0 win at Augsburg.
Kruse assisted both of Dani Schahin's goals in the triumph and the former Melbourne Victory striker is hopeful his performances for Dusseldorf will lead to an extended run for his national team.
"I've got 19 caps now and I want to start cementing my spot as a starting player," the 23-year-old said.
"Hopefully now I'm playing in the Bundesliga, it puts me in good stead with the national team.
"I want to play in the next two games but the boss has his plans and whatever he decides to chose I'll adapt to."
Mile Jedinak, meanwhile, says Thursday's friendly match against Lebanon offers Australia the perfect opportunity to build momentum ahead of their trip to Jordan.
Australia have failed to win in their last four matches, losing two and drawing two against the likes of Scotland and Denmark.
And Jedinak, who has been given club side Crystal Palace's captains armband in the absence of Paddy McCarthy, believes Thursday's fixture acts as ideal preparation.
"Look it's a good hit out just before we play the crunch game against Jordan," he said.
"We're under no illusions that Jordan is the main game, the key game for us and the one where the points are at stake.
"But having a hit out against Lebanon is going to be just as important and getting the understanding with each other and trying a few different things, not only in the game but also in training throughout the week in preparation for that game against Jordan."