Australia midfielder Tim Cahill has warned Japan to expect a bruising physical encounter in Tuesday's World Cup qualifier if the Socceroos find themselves needing a goal to keep their hopes of reaching Brazil alive.

Australia heads into the match at Saitama Stadium out of the automatic Group B qualifying positions with a game in hand on the top two teams, trailing leader Japan by seven points and second-place Jordan by one.

Cahill is aware that defeat would represent a major blow for Australia's ambitions of reaching a third-straight World Cup next summer, but the New York Red Bulls man says his team is prepared to do whatever it takes to leave Japan with at least a point in the bag.