They may not be household names, but Syria has two in-the-zone strikers that could give the Socceroos a world of problems in tonight's World Cup qualifying play-off, with hot conditions and a choppy, cow-paddock pitch adding to the challenge.
Australia fronts up to a pressure test in tonight's critical first leg of the World Cup qualifying Asian play-off against Syria, needing an aggregate win over two legs to advance to another two-legged play-off, this time against North America's fourth placed team in November.
With Syria having never qualified for a World Cup before, you would be forgiven for thinking it's a David v Goliath battle. Syria is ranked a surprising 75th in the world — below 50th-ranked Australia — but is on a run that has seen that FIFA ranking skyrocket from a lowly 151 in 2014.
The Syrians, who have been forced to play all of their home games in neutral Malaysia due to the security situation at home, come into the game boasting one of the most in-form strike forces in Asia.
Al Hilal's Omar Khrbin scored a hat-trick in the first leg of his club's Asian Champions League semi-final meeting with Persepolis last week, leading his side to a 4-0 demolition of the Iranian opponents, all but putting his team into the continental club final.
Meanwhile, Omar al Somah, who recently returned to the national team after a self-imposed exile, was on target in Syria's 2-2 draw with Iran.
Against a Socceroos defence that has made a habit of regularly conceding goals, Syria's threat is genuine and worrying.
At stake for both teams is a place in a play-off against the fourth-placed team in qualifying from the CONCACAF (North America) region in November, with the winner of that clash advancing to the World Cup finals.
"I've never experienced anything like this," Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo told reporters.
"It'll probably be a little bit tense. A little bit more nerve-wracking knowing there's a lot riding on these games.
"We're not playing for points, you can't make up the points later on. So it's do-or-die stuff."
The stifling conditions in Melaka should also present little barrier to Syria's performance given Ayman Hakeem's team has won two and drawn three of its five games played there so far in qualifying for Russia 2018.
"It's a critical match on Thursday and it's important for our ambitions and the dreams of millions of Syrians," said Syria team manager Fadi al Dabbas.
"The result will be important ahead of the second leg. We have got past the first rounds of qualifying and we have two decisive matches, but we have a lot of confidence in our players."
Spongy cow grass another challenge for Socceroos
Yet Syria's greatest advantage over the Socceroos might be the bobbly turf at the Malaysian venue.
Hang Jebat Stadium promises to pose a significant challenge to Australia's hopes of beating Syria and taking the edge into Tuesday's second leg at Sydney's Olympic stadium.
The pitch is made of cow grass, a variety viewed locally as lower maintenance and more durable than its more regularly used counterparts, especially in Malaysia's climate.
But it's also bushier and bumpier than the more-often used carpet grass or state-of-the-art hybrid surfaces installed at famed stadiums like the Camp Nou, San Siro and many English Premier League grounds.
Rain could render the turf even choppier should overnight showers continue into today.
The inconsistencies are set to give Syria a greater 'home-ground advantage' than at an alternative neutral venue such as the United Arab Emirates, a guaranteed supplier of pristine pitches.
Conditions have been likened to those at Bangkok's Rajamangala Stadium, where the Socceroos laboured to a 2-2 draw in November against last-placed group opponents Thailand.
The same issues were obvious this week at Australia's training facility, Hang Tuah Stadium, as routine passing drills sent the ball bouncing erratically on the uneven surface.
The grass at Hang Jebat, while shorter and in slightly better shape, will still hinder the passing game on which Australia thrives.
Coach Ange Postecoglou played down the issue as just another challenge.
"Having been through the rigours of a campaign now, all the players know that whatever we face on Thursday is nothing we haven't faced before — whether that's the weather conditions, pitch conditions or opposition tactics," Postecoglou said last night.
"That's the beauty of having had that experience at least once - you can talk about these things.
"I'm very confident this group of players have seen the whole gamut of challenges.
"They've faced it all, so I don't think anything will be a surprise on Thursday."