WHILE Wednesday morning's win over Iraq might have put the Socceroos back on the road to Rio, I suspect Holger Osieck will know deep down the result and, more importantly the performance, papered over the cracks of what so far has been a pretty insipid World Cup qualifying campaign.
Let's face it, the only half-decent performance so far from Osieck's men was in the draw with Japan at Suncorp Stadium.
The Socceroos were terrible in the defeat against Jordan and quite frankly were not much better, despite what Archie Thompson says, against Iraq in Doha.
The Socceroos were saved from an embarassing defeat against a terrible Iraq outfit, which would struggle to win an A-League game, by late goals from Tim Cahill (who else) and Thompson.
But those goals apart, which were more down to poor defending than outstanding attacking play, the Socceroos struggled against a team ranked 80th in the world.
Admittedly it cannot have helped that the game was played in a near-empty stadium - thousands of screaming Iraqi fans in Baghdad would have surely wound the Socceroos up into a more passionate performance - but even after this result the Socceroos could still be looking at third place and an arduous playoff battle to reach Rio.
As Mark Bosnich said following the game on Wednesday morning, the 4-0 result against the Germans in South Africa in 2010 would seem like a walk in the park if the Socceroos do get to the finals in Rio and turn in a similar showing.
A qualifying campaign is all about building a team towards the ultimate goal - in this case that's the World Cup in Brazil.
But carry on at this rate and even if they do qualify, the Socceroos will be home before the postcards.
Osieck has a problem, though - a number of his players are not playing in leagues of a high enough to standard to test themselves before they turn up for international games.
And even if they are in a league that could provide a tougher examination week in week out, players such as Carl Valeri in Serie B are not getting the game time at club level, meaning when they do play for Australia their match sharpness is not up to scratch - that was evident on Wednesday.
Others at weaker leagues now include captain Lucas Neill, who plays in the UAE with Al Wasl, Mark Bresciano at Al-Gharafa in Qatar, Matthew Spiranovic at Al-Arabi and Sasa Ognenowski at Umm-Salal also in the Qatar Stars League and, of course, Cahill in New York.
Now, you're not telling me that Spiranovic and Ognenowski would not be better off playing in Europe or - God forbid - the A-League.
It is no coincidence that in Wednesday morning's game, Australia's better players were Robbie Kruse, Tommy Oar, Brett Holman and Luke Wilkshire.
All four are playing in Europe with Kruse and Oar making their names at the top level in Germany and Holland respectively, Holman in the English Premier League at Aston Villa and Wilskhire at one of the best-known clubs in Eastern Europe, Dynamo Moscow.
Now I know Osieck probably has no say in where his players are plying their trade but he obviously has the final say in who he picks.
With the friendly against South Jorea coming up next month and Neill and Valeri both suspended for the next World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney, he has the chance to have a look at players such as Oar and also Mitch Langerak, who plays for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga.
Osieck has to try something to spark up performances otherwise the road to Rio could still be a bumpy ride.
Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.