THE OLYROOS dismal campaign to reach London 2012 ended as it started tonight with yet another game that failed to trouble the scorekeeper, drawing 0-0 with Iraq at Bluetongue Stadium.
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The Australian U23s managed to go the entire qualifying group stage without scoring a single goal - and rarely looked like breaking that record tonight.
The game was a dead rubber with both UAE and Uzbekistan having already qualified for London at Australia and Iraq's expense
A lacklustre first half saw an experimental Australian side - featuring six new faces - controlling large parts of possession but failing to do much with it.
Iraq were aggressive in defence, often double-teaming the Olyroo on the ball, and once they took control they were swift in attack, with plenty of complex movement off the ball, often causing confusion among the Olyoos.
But ultimately their sloppy passing inevitably turned the ball back over to the Olyroos again.
Most of the Australian attack in the first half came down the right wing through Kofi Danning but to little real effect.
The one time Danning managed to break through the defence, he tried to turn it back into the path of Chris Harold - but instead put the ball behind the rushing striker, killing what seemed an almost certain goal.
Dimi Petratos also had a chance to open the scoring when the Olyroos earned a freekick on the edge of the Iraq box, but his effort skied into the empty terrace behind the goal.
The near-empty stadium was dominated by the Iraq support, both in colour and noise, despite being close to 50-50 Iraqi fans to green and gold in the crowd of 2071.
Their side finally gave them something worth cheering just before half time when Ammar Ahmed sprinted through the centre of the Australian defence and unleashed a fierce shot from the left side of the box.
Olyroo keeper Mark Birighitti was called into action to make the first real save of the match with a spectacular dive to his right to palm the ball away for a corner and preserve his cleansheet.
Graham Arnold was sitting in the stands and may have played a part in Mustafa Amini being withdrawn at half-time to be replaced by Mariners team-mate Tom Rogic.
And although Rogic injected excitement into the Australian play with mazy dribbles towards the box, nothing actually came out of the attacking runs, with the final pass often intercepted.
Mitch Mallia was later bought on for Dimi Petratos and Nick Fitzgerald replaced Kofi Danning but Australia were simply unable to penetrate the Iraqis' final third.
Iraq's speed on the counter was a constant threat to Birighitti's cleansheet on debut but the Iraqi attack's pace was better than their finishing touch.
As the match drew to a close, Rogic played a great ball out wide into the path of Chris Harold who beat his marker to unleash a powerful shot.
But it curled away from the target, condemning the Roos to yet another fruitless match in a failed and disappointing campaign.