At the 2006 tournament, Australia were drawn in a tough group that included Brazil, Croatia and Japan. After dramatic win over Japan in their opening match 3-1, with all their goals coming in the final seven minutes, they lost 2-0 to Brazil and drew their final group game against Croatia, which was a controversy laden encounter, to proceed to the last sixteen.
There they again faced controversy, conceding an injury time penalty to Italy when Lucas Neill brought down Fabio Grosso, though the Australians fiercely contested the penalty which Francesco Totti converted for the soon to be World Champions to knock the Australians out of the World Cup.
Their campaign for 2010, which began in the second round of Asian qualifying, saw them drawn in Group 1 with Asian Champions Iraq, China and Qatar; they began with a 3-0 win in February 2008 over Qatar but were held to goalless draw in Kunming causing some panic. But another win over Qatar and a home victory over Iraq saw Australia through to the final phase of qualifying, despite them losing two matches at home to China and away to Iraq.
In the final phase of Asian qualifying, paired with Qatar once more , as well as Bahrain, Uzbekistan and Japan, it was easy going again for the Soceroos, apart from a goalless draw with Japan in Yokohoma and the same score line against Qatar in Doha.
Australia were untroubled, winning six games, scoring twelve goals along the way, while conceding just one goal. Many in Australia felt that moving to the Asian Confederation could hamper further Australia’s chances of regularly qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, the ease with which the Soceroos made it to South Africa demonstrates the strength of Pim Verbreek’s team.
Read more about Australia's Group D Opponents