FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: 20
Australia will be making their third appearance in the World Cup. They were placed in what some have dubbed “the group of death” alongside Germany (ranked 6th), Serbia (ranked 15th) and Ghana (ranked 32nd).
Australia cruised in qualification, playing consistent, good defense. They finished their last eight games by winning six and tying the other two. During that time they only gave up one goal. It was a very impressive showing for Australia, who was competing for the first time in the Asian qualification zone instead of Oceania.
The Socceroos are coached by Dutchman Pim Verbeek. Verbeek studied under the very experienced Guss Hiddink for a long time before being given the opportunity to be a head coach. Australians will hope his lack of experience at the World Cup level will not be a factor in South Africa. Verbeek has done a great job organizing the Socceroos and has worked hard to bring this team together. He has emphasized organization and strong defense, and that is exactly what they have showed during qualification. However, the quality of their competition will increase dramatically once the World Cup starts and they are not expected to progress beyond the group stage.
The most popular name on this Australian team is Tim Cahill. Cahill is an extremely talented midfielder who is known for his goal-scoring ability, especially with the national team. In 15 games with Australia he has scored nine goals.
Two other names to pay attention to in South Africa are midfielder Harry Kewell and defender Brett Emerton. Both love to go up and attack from the sides. In fact, despite being a defender, Emerton led the Socceroos with four goals scored during qualifying.