As you should all be aware, the history of the Socceroos in the World Cup is rather short in comparison to many other nations around the world. The 2018 World Cup in Russia will only be Australia’s fifth time at the 88-year-old tournament.

It took us 52 years after Australia’s first international match against New Zealand in 1922 to successfully qualify for the 1974 World Cup in West Germany. And it would be another 32 years after that before Australia would once again grace football’s biggest stage in 2006.

Despite the two earlier droughts, Australia has successfully rebuilt its image as a football nation on the world stage, having qualified for four consecutive world cups since 2006. Overall, the Socceroos have only successfully qualified for the tournament five times out of our 15 attempts.

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Australia’s first World Cup appearance in 1974 didn’t go as great as one would have hoped. The Berlin Wall was in full swing and we were placed in Group 1 against East Germany, West Germany and Chile. The Socceroos remained scoreless throughout the entire tournament, losing two matches and drawing 0-0 in other, subsequently failing to make it out of the group stages. Overall, Australia placed 14th overall out of 16 teams for our efforts in a divided Germany.

When the green and gold graced German shores again in 2006, Australia scrapped through Group F after facing reigning champions Brazil, and Croatia and Japan. The Socceroos defied the odds and made it into the Round of 16 against Italy, where one of the most iconic robberies in World Cup history ensued. Italian substitute Francesco Totti took a dive in the box during injury-time to secure a penalty and the sides 1-0 win. We finished 16th overall out of the 32 teams, as Italy went on to win the 2006 World Cup.

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South Africa in 2010 saw us once again not qualify past the group stage. Facing Germany, Ghana and Serbia we had a rather good shot at qualifying past Group D. We beat Serbia, drew with Ghana, and lost 4-0 against Germany, but it wasn’t enough to see us qualify past the group stages and the team finished 21st out of the 32 teams.

Our last World Cup campaign in 2014 in Brazil saw the nation pitted against some of the footballing powerhouses of the world. After not winning any of our matches in Group B against the Netherlands, Chile or Spain, we finished the group stages third last, 30th, with no points and a negative six-goal difference. This was our worst finish ever in a World Cup but the Socceroos emerged with their heads held high after a series of encouraging displays.

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The Socceroos currently sit 40th in FIFA World Rankings going into their fifth World Cup appearance. The entire country will once again hold their breath to see if Australia can improve on past results and step up to the plate in Russia. Placed in Group C, we are facing Denmark, France and Peru, therefore it isn’t going to be an easy road past the group stages for the green and gold.

Australia kicks off their campaign in Russia against France on Saturday, 16th of June at 8pm EST.

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