Team Profile: Australia
Appearances at finals:
1974 - First round
2006 - Second round
Overall record at finals: Played 7, Won 1, Drawn 2, Lost 4.
Best performance: Second round in 2006.
Most appearances at finals: Lucas Neill (2006), Craig Moore (2006), Vince Grella (2006), Mark Viduka (2006), Luke Wilkshire (2006), Jason Culina (2006), Tim Cahill (2006), John Aloisi (2006), Mark Bresciano (2006), Scott Chipperfield (2006) - 4.
Most goals at finals: Tim Cahill (2006) - 2.
World Cup high: The dramatic comeback as three goals in the final eight minutes saw Australia come from behind to secure a famous win over Japan in Kaiserslautern in 2006.
World Cup low: The exit from the 1974 World Cup with no goals and only one point from three games.
World Cup legend: Johnny Warren, member of the 1974 squad and FIFA Centennial Order of Merit holder, was famous as a tireless advocate for Australian football until his death in 2004.
The story so far: Australia's two World Cup finals appearances came 32 years apart but are connected by the location of the tournaments - West Germany in 1974 and Germany in 2006. Australia's first finals appearance ended mostly in disappointment as the team failed to register their first goal or win, leaving the class of 2006 to set all the records as they reached the second round.
The Socceroos' controversial exit at the hands of eventual champions Italy in 2006 was considered harsh, and who knows how far Guus Hiddink's magic could have taken them? Qualification is now a minimum expectation in Australia since the team switched to the Asian confederation.
Qualification: Australia's disastrous Asian Cup in 2007 was the warning shot required to approach their first qualification campaign in their new confederation with the right mindset.
The experienced Socceroos line-up achieved a level of consistency and solidity under the guidance of Dutch coach Pim Verbeek that saw them cruise to South Africa on the back of a stellar defensive record. Australia's European-based stars dominated most Asian opponents, but the question is now whether they can evolve their style to compete with better and more diverse nations at the finals.
Qualifying record (final group stage): P8, W6, D2, L0, F12, A1, Pts20.
Most appearances: Mark Schwarzer (8).
Top goalscorer: Tim Cahill (3).