The Socceroos’ demise at the hands of eventual winners Italy in the 2006 World Cup was about as hard as it gets on the biggest stage. A hotly contested, highly debatable penalty decision given against Guus Hiddink’s brave side, clinically dispatched by Francesco Totti in the 95th minute sent the Australians home, having reached the last 16 for the very first time.
Manager: Ange Postecoglou
Captain: Mile Jedinak
World Cup Winners: N/A
World Cup Runners up: N/A
Best Finish: Round of 16 (Germany 2006)
Australia 2014 World Cup Preview:
Their chances of reaching the second round this summer are very slim considering the ‘Group of Death’ scenario they find themselves in.
Chile, World Cup holders Spain, and 2010 finalists Holland await the Aussies in Group B; a harder task they could not have asked for, and they will once more be looking to the incorrigible Tim Cahill to give them a fighting chance of making an impact.
The 34-year-old New York Red Bulls attacker has been the national side’s talisman for a good many years now, and he will once again lead the line with his phenomenal aerial ability, with the likes of Tommy Oar, Matthew Leckie and Ben Halloran given the chance to back him up.
The opening match against Chile will be crucial for Ange Postecoglou and his side, with both Spain and the Netherlands to be tough asks on the back of a defeat against the South Americans, who are in this case the weakest of Australia’s three opponents.
Australia 2014 World Cup squad:
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Bruges), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United)
Defenders: Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa, Qatar), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), James Troisi (Atalanta), Massimo Luongo (Swindon)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt 1899), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Duesseldorf), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets)
Key Player(s): Tim Cahill
Australia 2014 World Cup Stats:
For more World Cup previews, stats and news, see our World Cup 2014 Guide.