Despite qualifying Australia for the World Cup, coach Holger Osieck has been sacked just hours after the Socceroos' embarrassing 6-0 loss to France on Friday.
The German was under pressure heading into the friendly in Paris after his side's dreadful 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Brazil in early September. Football Federation Australia had indicated the Socceroos needed to put in a better display against France for Osieck to avoid the axe.
But, after being outplayed and outclassed, Australia was 4-0 down inside 29 minutes in Paris in another listless performance. The FFA wasted little time in terminating Osieck's contract, with reports suggesting the move was made barely two hours after the loss.
"The decision is based on the longer-term issues of the rejuvenation of the Socceroos team and the preparations for the World Cup and the Asian Cup," FFA chairman Frank Lowy said in a statement. "FFA has set a strategic objective of having a highly competitive team in Brazil and then handing over a team capable of winning the Asian Cup on home soil in January 2015.
"We have come to the conclusion that change is necessary to meet those objectives. I thank Holger for his contribution to Australian football and wish him well in his future endeavors."
Osieck ignored the speculation surrounding his future heading into the clash but was unable to guarantee he still had the support of his players post-match. He said he understood he would be under pressure after his side conceded 12 goals in two matches.
The decision leaves the Socceroos looking for a coach exactly eight months out from the 2014 World Cup. Former Australia coach Guus Hiddink appears the leading candidate for the role after helping the Socceroos to the round of 16 in Germany in 2006.
Frenchman Gerard Houllier and Spaniard Marcelo Bielsa are among others who have been linked with the position.
If the FFA opts to turn to a local name, Melbourne Victory coach Ange Postecoglou and Central Coast boss Graham Arnold are the frontrunners.
Osieck was named Socceroos coach in August 2010, leading an aging side to the 2011 Asian Cup final, which it lost 1-0 to Japan after extra time. The former Urawa Reds and Canada coach won 23 of the 44 matches in which he led Australia.
Osieck's assistant Aurelio Vidmar will take charge of the team for its upcoming friendly against Canada at Craven Cottage.