For the first time in 32 years, Australia qualified for and competed at the FIFA World Cup. Defeating Uruguay in a nail-biting shoot-out at Sydney’s Telstra Stadium, millions of Australians rejoiced as Mark Schwarzer saved two Uruguayan shots at goal.
Under the leadership of mastermind coach Guus Hiddink, Australia went to Germany as the underdogs yet surprised the world by defeating Japan 3-1, then drawing with Croatia 2-2 (after losing to defending champions Brazil 2-0) to book a spot in the quarter-finals. There they lost 1-0 to Italy, the eventual Cup winners, in a controversial match.
The performances and sportsmanship of the team during the campaign united and inspired the nation.