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1976:SocceroosmaketheirfirstWorldCup

Afterdecadesinthesoccerwilderness,AustraliaqualifiedforitsfirstWorldCupinWestGermanyin1974。

Ateammostlyfilledwithamateurscameupagainstseasonprofessionalsfromfootballingpowerhousesandtheresultswentasmostexpected—theSocceroosdrewagamewithChilebeforelosingtohostnationsEastandWestGermanyandgotbungledoutofthetournament。

Despitethedisappointingresults,Australiahadatasteofthebigtimeandtheseedhadbeenplantedforfuturesuccess。

Asfatewouldhaveit,AustraliasnextWorldCupappearancewouldbeatthesamevenue,some30yearslater。

2006:BraveSocceroosmakehistoricrununderGus

Returningtothegamesbiggeststageforthefirsttimeinthreedecades,theSocceroosbroughtconfidenceandmomentumintoits2006WorldCupcampaignonthebackofaheart-stoppingqualificationtriumphoverarch-nemesisUruguay。

Afteryearsofheart-breakingfailureatthequalificationstage,theSocceroosfinallyhadthequalityandskilltonotonlymakeittotheWorldCup,butsomebeliefthattheycoulddosomerealdamagewhiletheywerethere。

WithDutchmastercoachGusHiddinkincontrolandaplayingsquadthatincludedsomeoftheverybestAustralianstohaveeverplayedthesport,theSoccerooswerebackinGermanyforaWorldCupandhadastatementtomake。

InitsfirstmatchagainJapan,Australiaweredown1-0earlyinthematch,buthadaninspiredfinishtowin3-1thankstoabracefromstarstrikerTimCahill。

Afterahard-fought2-0losstoreigningchampionBrazil,Australiawasleftwithado-or-dieclashwithCroatiatomakeitpastthegroupstage。

A2-2drawwithHarryKewellkickingalateequaliserwasenoughtoseetheSocceroosadvance,wheretheirnextopponentwasItaly。

ThematchwiththeAzzurriwasadefensive,tensebattlethatfailedtoproduceagoaluntilthefinalfewsecondsofregulationwhenaquestionablepenaltywasgrantedtotheItalians,whoscoredfromthespottoadvanceandbreakAustralianhearts。

ItalywouldgoontowintheWorldCup。

2010:SocceroosstruggleinSouthAfrica

FouryearsonfromtheheroicsinGermany,thingsjustdidntgorightfortheAussiesinSouthAfrica,wheretheSocceroosfailedtogetpastthegroupstage。

TheSocceroossquadstillincludedtalentednameslikeHarryKewell,MarkBresciano,LucasNeil,TimCahillandMarkSchwarzer,butsomequestionableselectionandplayingtacticsfromcoachPimVerbeekgottheAustraliansofftoahorror0-4startagainstGermanythattheyfailedtorecoverfrom,despitea1-1drawwithGhanaanda2-1winoverSerbia。

2014:underdogSocceroosfighthardinBrazil

Withahostofitsstarshavingretiredfrominternationalduty,theSocceroosstillmanagedtoqualifyforitsthird-consecutiveWorldCup—thistimeinBrazil—butwasnotexpectedtomakeanywavesafterdrawingagroupofdeaththatincludedSain,theNetherlandsandChile,allteamsinsidethetop15inworldrankings。

TheAussieshadaroughstart,losingtoChile3-1,beforeabraveshowingagainstthehighly-ratedNetherlands,inwhichtheyled2-1aftertwoincrediblegoalsfromTimCahill,beforegoingontolose3-2。

SpainendedAustraliascampaignina3-0deadrubberresult。

TheSocceroosbestWorldCupXI

Keeper:MarkSchwarzer

Theveteranwasaheroforhisnationduringthe2006and2010campaignsandhadanaccomplishedclubcareerthatsawhimplay625matcheswellintohis40s。

PerhapsSchwarzersmosticonicmomentwasthesavehecompletedduringapenaltyshootoutthathelpedtheSocceroosadvancepastUruguayintotheWorldCup。

Defender:ScottChipperfield

Lean,lankyandbalding,ChipperfieldwasneverthemostfashionableplayerintheSocceroos。

Hewas,however,oneofthemostreliable,givingadozenyearsofsolidservicethatincludedthe2006and2010WorldCups。

The68-timeinternationalplayedeithersideofthemidfieldwithaplomb,butmuchofhisbestworkforAustraliawasdoneintheleftfullbackposition。

Defender:CraigMoore

Theoldredheadplayed52matchesforhisnationthroughouthisinternationalcareerthatalsoincludedmorethan250clubmatchesinboththeScottishPremiershipandEnglishPremierLeague。

Mooreplayedinboththe2006and2010WorldCupsandoftenhadtheresponsibilityofcontrollingthecentralmidfielderrole。

Defender:LucasNeill

LucasNeilwillforeverberememberedasthemanwhogaveawayalast-minutepenaltytoItalyinthe2006WorldCupknockoutstage,butSocceroosfanswillalsorememberhisincredibleleadershipandformduringthetournament,wherehewaseventuallynamedinthetournamentsbestelevenplayers。

NeilcaptainedAustraliaatthe2010WorldCup,wasnamedasthemanofthematchintheall-importantWorldCupqualifierin2006thathelpedhisnationbreakitslongdroughtandplayedmorethan500clubgamesasaprofessionalintheEPL。

Defender:BrettEmerton

BrettEmertonwasatruegunofAustraliansoccer,havingplayed95gamesforhiscountrybetween1998and2012andanother330professionalgamesacrossEuropeandtheEPL。

Emertonwasknownforhispace,enduranceandhisflexibilitytoplayasbothawingeranddefender。

Emertonfeaturedinthe2006and2010WorldCupsquadsandwasaconsistent,reliableperformer。

Midfield:VinceGrella

Grella,whomostlypliedhistradeprofessionallyinItalianleaguesduringhisjourneymanclubcareer,wasanabsolutestarinthe2006WorldCupforAustralia。

HiseffortsinthemidfieldgaininghimanominationfortheFIFAsteamofthetournament。

Grellawasahard-workingindustriousmidfielderthatwasadiligentdefenderandaqualitypasser。

Heplayed46gamesforhisnation。

Midfield:MarkBresciano

BrescianowasthemagicianattheheartoftheAustralianengineroom,provingtobeastalwartoftheSocceroosinhis84internationalappearancesthatincludedthreeWorldCupcampaigns—2006,2010and2014。

Thehair-challengedAussiewastypicallyresponsibleformostofthedead-ballkicksforwardofcentreandhadaflairforbothkickingandcreatinggoals。

TeamingupwithTimCahillformorethanadecade,Brescianowasoneofthebestplayerstoeverwearthegreenandgoldandalwaysperformedonthebigstage。

Midfield:MileJedinak

JedinakhasbeenastalwartoftheSocceroossincebreakingintothesidein2008。

Afteranimpressiveshowingasadefensivemidfielderinthe2010WorldCup,Jedinakwashandedthecaptainsarmbandinthe2014WorldCupandwillalsoleadhisnationinthe2018campaign。

Jedinakhasplayed75gamesfortheSocceroos,kicking18goals。

Hisendurance,toughnessandleadershiphaveendearedhimtofootballfansaroundthecountryandhisclubcareer,mostnotablyforCrystalPalaceintheEPL,hasonlyaddedtohisreliablereputation。

HisgreatestmomentfortheSoccerooscamein2016whenheleadAustraliatoitsfirsteverAsianCuptriumph。

Forward:MarkViduka

ItcouldbearguedthatAustraliahasneverhadacentreforwardasprodigiouslytalentedasMarkViduka。

Thesix-footstrikerwasblessedwithincredibleskillbyfootandintheairandoftenplayedasabatteringram,absorbingdefensivepressureandcreatingopportunitiesforhisteammates。

Vidukacaptainedthe2006WorldCupsquad—clearlythebestsidetheSoccerooshaveeverfielded—andledfromthefrontinhisoneandonlyWorldCup。

Vidukaplayed43gamesforAustraliaandplayedmorethan400clubgamesinaprofessionalcareerthatsawhimbecomeoneofAustraliasmostsuccessfulathletesthroughoutthe1990sandearly2000s。

Forward:HarryKewell

WhileVidukawasthemosttalentedcentreforwardtheSoccerooshadeverseen,HarryKewellwasthemosttalentedall-roundfootballerthecountryeverproduced。

Fromthemomenthedebutedforhisnationasateenager,Kewellwasalwaysgoingtobesomethingspecial。

Theleft-footerplayedaforward-midfieldrolethatmaximisedhisincrediblevision,passingabilityandpowerfulstriking。

Hisabilitytoattackdefenderswiththeballmadehimadevastatingmatch-upforanydefenceandifitwasntforaconstantinjurieslateinhiscareer,hecouldhavebeenevenbetter。

Kewellplayedinthe2006and2010WorldCupcampaigns,wasinstrumentalinhelpingtheSocceroosqualifyin2006andhadanincrediblecareerintheEPLandacrossEurope,wherehewasonceselectedinthePFAteamoftheyear。

Forward:TimCahill

TherearefewpeopleinallofAustraliansportthatcanclaimtohavedoneasmuchfortheirnationasTimCahillhasdonefortheSocceroos。

Cahillhasearnedmorethan100capsforhiscountryandwastheveryfirstAustraliantohavescoredinaWorldCup—hisbracehelpingAustraliawinitsfirstWorldCupgameagainstJapan。

CahillhasscoredinallthreeWorldCupshehasplayedin(2006,2010,2014)andhasscoredfiveWorldCupgoalsalsoarecordforhiscountry。

Cahill,whouseshisstrengthintheairtohisadvantageisknownforhisdeadlyheaderandqualitystriking。

Hehasscored50goalsforhiscountry,anotherrecord,andhasplayedmorethan600professionalmatchesinEngland,ChinaandAustralia。

CanCahilladdtohistallyinthe2018WorldCup?

Dontbetagainsthim。

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