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Jun 13, 2013

Pressure is on us: Wilkshire

They're just one win away from a World Cup berth but with the weight of an expectant nation on their shoulders defender Luke Wilkshire says the Socceroos are feeling the pressure.

Buoyed by a 4-0 victory over Jordan on Tuesday night, Australia go into their final qualifying match against world No.98 Iraq in Sydney as $1.22 favourites.

Sitting bottom of the qualifying group and out of contention, Iraq are likely to field a weakened side.

Over 60,000 people will fill ANZ Stadium on Tuesday eager to erupt in celebration at qualifying for Brazil 2014 on the final whistle.

And Wilkshire makes it clear the team are keenly aware it can still all go wrong.

Should the Socceroos get anything less than three points they could be overtaken into second place by Oman and forced into difficult playoff series against Asian then South American opponents.

"That's the one thing (complacency) we will not allow to creep in," Wilkshire said on Thursday.

"People can get carried away after such a great result and now facing Iraq who are out of contention.

"But it's a huge prize on the line, everyone knows that and anyone who knows football knows what can happen.

"They're going to come very relaxed, they've got nothing to lose.

"They'll play openly and freely without too many worries so all the pressure is on us."

Wilkshire says coach Holger Osieck and the senior members of the squad made sure the team was brought back down to earth after their rout of Jordan this week.

"He and all the senior players - everyone's reinforced we're only halfway there," he said.

"We've still got all the pressure. We've got one more massive game. We got a great result and a couple of good performances but it all counts for nothing if we don't win on Tuesday."

Veteran Socceroo Mark Schwarzer, 40, will also be playing for a place in history as he vies to become the oldest goalkeeper to play in a World Cup.

However, Schwarzer knows despite being understrength Iraq will be on a mission because of history between the teams.

"Even though Iraq have nothing to play for in theory they'll still have a lot to play for," he said.

"They'll want to do their utmost to try and knock us out of the World Cup for sure.

"There is a big rivalry between us and Iraq so I'm expecting a very tough game on Tuesday night."

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