Socceroos captain Lucas Neill concedes that Japan deserves to be favourite for the World Cup qualifying match in Brisbane on Tuesday night.
Speaking in Brisbane on the eve of the important qualifier, Neill said Japan is the clear favourite for the game and he has no problem with that.
Japan has scored nine goals - with strong performances from stars Keisuke Honda and Manchester United-bound Shinji Kagawa - and conceded none in its wins over Oman and Jordan in the final stage of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Australia started its final stage of qualifying with a 0-0 draw with Oman and as a result is five points behind Japan.
"The game is important because we are at home, the game is important because we need to get maximum points from every game we play," Neill said.
"I think Japan is the favourite for this game. With their preparation, they have had two home games, they came here with confidence, they came here earlier than we did to play on our home turf.
"We know we're in for a very tough game ... but it's one we believe we can win."
Team coach Holger Osieck agreed with his captain, and said the Japanese went into the game with two key wins under their belt.
"When you win two games you are full of confidence, and you are riding on a high," he said.
"(But) we are not here to give any presents, although they are top we will still be looking to get a result."
A strong rivalry exists between Japan and Australia.
The Socceroos beat the Blue Samurai 3-1 in the group stages of the 2006 World Cup in Kaiserslautern - the two teams will meet on Tuesday on the sixth anniversary of that game.
More recently, however, Australia lost the 2011 Asian Cup title to Japan in a tough final last November.
Neill said the loss at the Asian Cup would provide some motivation to the team in the qualifier.
"It was a very nice memory for the Japanese, a very bad memory for us," he said.
"It was a great final, we lost perhaps because of one lapse in concentration.
"It's a situation like that, that gives us motivation, the desire to put things right.
"Beating Japan would be a great way to heal (from that defeat), but the most important thing is to qualify for the World Cup, whether we are first or second."
Osieck was giving nothing away on team selection, 24 hours before the game.
He told reporters that changes were possible to the side which drew with Oman, but did not give any hints on who might be possible inclusions.
In particular he was asked about the chances of Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill starting against the Japanese.
Cahill - who memorably scored two late goals for Australia to beat Japan six years ago at the World Cup - has been on the fringes of selection, missing six of the last seven matches.
Like fellow striker Josh Kennedy, Cahill did not get to play against Oman.
"Looking at our group, every one on the list could be on the pitch (against Japan)," Osieck said.
"I haven't decided yet. Tim is definitely always in contention for the starting XI."
Neill said there was a mentality within the squad that form was the key element in selection.
"Age and experience is good, but the manager will pick his side ... on form and his feeling," Neill said.
"He doesn't take into consideration age or caps.
"Everyone in our team has a chance of playing, regardless of maturity or lack of maturity.
"We have to be playing well at club level, if you are then you get to play at (Socceroos) level."