Syria's World Cup hopes end in extra-time loss to Australia

War-torn Syria's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup for the first time have ended in a 2-1 extra-time loss to an Australia.

Tim Cahill again delivered for his country with two headed goals in a comeback win in an Asian playoff on Tuesday that ended moments after Omar al-Soma hit the post with a free kick that could have earned Syria a spot in the final stage of qualifying.

The Syrians were so close to securing a spot in Russia after salvaging a 1-1 draw in the first leg last week at their adopted home ground in Malaysia and taking a 1-0 lead in the return match in Sydney, but Cahill's goals in the 13th minute and in extra time secured Australia's place in a playoff next month against the fourth-place team from North and Central America.