Australia qualified for the FIFA World Cup in 2006, for the first time in thirty-two years, and immediately made a huge impact on the competition. They made it through to the knockout phase, where they faced Italy. The latter scored a last-minute goal to eliminate the Socceroos, and end their World Cup dream. However, their 2010 squad looks much stronger than it did four years ago, and coach Pim Verbeek will be hoping that his charges can go far in this competition. Their best player is arguably Tim Cahill, the Everton target man who enjoys a great fan following at Goodison Park – Australia will be hoping he plays with the same grit and determination that he shows week in week out for his club side. Other notable players for the Socceroos include winger Harry Kewell, and Blackburn stalwart Brett Emerton.
The midfield pairing of Vince Grella and Jason Culina will be looking to keep the likes of Klose, Ozil, Appiah and co. at bay. However, it’s in defence where the team really shows world class form — centre back Lucas Neill, and Premiership goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer are essential to the Socceroos’ success. Their qualifying campaign was hugely successful, finishing first in Group One, however, their initial group in the finals will undoubtedly be much more of a test however. The team have been drawn against Germany — a team who rarely disappoint in the competition, and who always seem to do well at the World Cup. They also have Serbia, who forced France into qualifying via the playoffs and Ghana, who finished second in the recently concluded African Cup of Nations, in their group.