QPR's Massimo Luongo is preparing for an experience like no other he's ever had as Australia head into the World Cup play-offs this week.
The Socceroos face Syria in Malaysia on Thursday before a return leg in Sydney next Tuesday, with the winners playing off against the fourth-placed CONCACAF team for a place in Russia next summer.
Luongo at least has some past experience of such high pressure games – having played for the Swindon Town side which lost in the League One play-off semi-finals to Brentford in 2013, and in the Robins' final defeat to Preston two years later.
But the 24 year old, who was part of Australia's squad for the 2014 World Cup but did not feature as they got knocked out in the group stages, is expecting the forthcoming games to be on a whole different level.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” he told the Socceroos' official website. “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. It’s do-or-die stuff.
“The analysis will come and we’ll get a good heads up about them and what to expect, but I don’t expect them [Syria] to be as fit as us.”
Rs boss Ian Holloway last month described Luongo as among the best midfielders in the Championship, and the former Spurs youngster feels he is in top form going into the international break.
“He’s backed me, to be fair,” Luongo said of Holloway. “We’ve got a new style that’s allowing us to dominate games and to be in games for longer. I’m really enjoying the season.”