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Australia’s hopes of securing direct qualification came crashing down in March, having surrendered top spot in Group B amid one win from their final seven matches.
Their disappointing decline came at the delight of Saudi Arabia and Japan, who will now watch on as the Socceroos travel to Doha for the AFC’s third-placed play-off against the UAE on June 7.
It’s a route not unknown to Australia, nor Langerak, who was a part of the squad that defeated Honduras at the last hurdle to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
The Nagoya Grampus goalkeeper figured to form part of Graham Arnold’s plans beyond last year’s coronavirus-enforced hiatus, but instead retired from international football altogether; unwilling to leave his young family.
With eight caps to his name, the Socceroos are not lost on the 33-year-old, who believes the return of some notable names could make the difference against the UAE and, if victorious, Peru.
“I understand that a lot of people might have their misgivings at what lies ahead, but I’m still fully confident they’ll make it,” Langerak told FTBL.
“These are one-off games, first against UAE and then Peru – in these types of games anything is possible.
“We were a bit under-strength in March (losing to Japan and Saudi Arabia) but with Tommy Rogic and Aaron Mooy coming back in I feel that could possibly change the whole complexion of the task at hand.
“You also look at how Riley McGree is thriving at Middlesbrough, and Denis Genreau breaking through and winning promotion to Ligue 1 in France (with Toulouse), and things look more optimistic and promising.
“I think we can get the job done.”
“It’s winner-takes-all football and some of the boys have experienced that from our last qualifying campaign,” Langerak added. “They’ve been there before.
“We’ve played a lot of our qualifiers in the Middle East over the past few years and that’s also a slight advantage.
“These games aren’t played on paper and while it’s not the easiest road for us to have to travel as a country, we still have quality players with strong mentalities and those are the ingredients you need to get a result.
“I’ll be watching for sure. It’s a huge thing for Australian football that we qualify for the World Cup.”