Two key Iraq players are set to miss Tuesday's qualifier with Australia, bolstering the Socceroos' efforts for a World Cup place
Australia's task of beating Iraq and earning automatic entry to the 2014 World Cup appears a lighter one, with star players Nashat Akram and Younis Mahmoud unlikely to face the Socceroos on Tuesday in Sydney.
Holger Osieck's Australia require a win to seal their place in Brazil, having thumped Jordan 4-0 on Tuesday.
A draw against Iraq would they will still have to wait on the result of Oman's trip to Jordan to find out their destiny.
Iraq prop up Group B of AFC World Cup qualifying on just five points and their chances of reaching Brazil are dead.
And it seems conflict within Vladimir Petrovic's Iraq squad could play into Australia's hands.
The Iraq Football Association confirmed on Thursday captain Mahmoud had not traveled to Australia, with fellow playmaker Akram also reportedly absent.
"Yes it is true for some reasons," the FA's account tweeted in response to a question over Mahmoud's absence.
The duo's decision not to travel further hinders Iraq's efforts to finish their campaign on a positive note against the in-form Socceroos, with striker Abdul Zahra also absent after he was sent off in Tuesday's loss to Japan.