World champions Germany have given Australia a reminder of their place in football's pecking order with a 3-2 win at the Confederations Cup.
Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has taken the blame for the result, which makes an Australian appearance in the semi-finals a tall order.
The Socceroos fought back from a decidedly dicey opening half when Tom Rogic scored another belter to cancel out Lars Stindl's opener.
Julian Draxler's penalty and Leon Goretzka's goal which came minutes either side of halftime sealed Australia's fate, though Tomi Juric did scramble home a consolation goal.
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The best and worst of Postecoglou's side was on display in Sochi.
In many ways it was a quintessential Australian showing against one of football's big boys - a costly start and then a courageous comeback that ultimately fell short.
Germany had Australia on the ropes during the opening half-hour, and Stindl's fifth-minute opener began fears of a belting.
The 28-year-old found an acre of space to volley Julian Brandt's cut-back past Mat Ryan and the inattentive back three.
But Germany's failure to cash in on early chances allowed Rogic to rifle home a 41st minute equaliser.
The Canberran - clearly Australia's best player on the night - sprayed a first shot into Shkodran Mustafi's back but kept his composure to score at the second attempt - shocking the 28,605 at the Olympic Stadium.
Parity lasted all of three minutes.
An out-of-sorts Massimo Luongo lunged at man-of-the-match Goretzka in the box and Draxler's penalty ensured Germany went into halftime ahead once more.
Two minutes after the break, a dazzling through-ball from Joshua Kimmich put Goretzka through to thrash past Ryan at close range.
Then, an Australian lifeline.
Another fine Rogic run drew a free-kick which Juric scrambled home when goalkeeper Bernd Leno fumbled.
There was to be no off-the-canvas third for Postecoglou's side, which finished stronger but left themselves too much to do.
"It's no fault of the players to be fair to them. They stuck to our principles," Postecoglou said.
"It's a loss and it falls on me. It's my responsibility.
"We did at least crawl back into the game. The second half was better ... they composed themselves a little bit.
"It's just disappointing. I didn't come here to lose games. Unfortunately we lost tonight."
Australia faces Cameroon in a must-win second match on Thursday (Friday 1am AEST) in Saint Petersburg and Postecoglou foreshadowed personnel changes.
"We've got to travel now and we've got a day less rest than Cameroon," he said.
"We've got to make sure everyone recovers well. I don't think there are any injuries at this stage. We'll make some decisions (on changes) in the next 48 hours."