Form and Prospects
Successive 6-0 friendly defeats to Brazil and France in the wake of a laboured qualifying campaign resulted in the sacking of German Holger Osieck and his replacement by Australian Ange Postecoglou last month.
Osieck's failure to bring younger players through to replace the ageing golden generation was a major factor in his dismissal and one of the attractions of Postecoglou was his work in rejuvenating teams at club level.
Time is against the Greek-born, Australian-raised Postecoglou but at the very least he will be looking to restore the fighting spirit that once defined the Socceroos and was noticeably absent in the Brasilia and Paris humiliations.
Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer made at least one decision for Postecoglou by bringing an end to his 109-cap international career on the eve of his first squad announcement.
Forward Tim Cahill and central defender Lucas Neill are both determined to play in a third successive finals but the latter's form in recent matches makes him by no means a certainty to make the 23-man squad.
There is much excitement about the talents of young attacking players like Tommy Oar and Tom Rogic and they will get their chance to take the step up to international football under Postecoglou.
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
Postecoglou developed a reputation for rebuilding teams and playing attractive, attacking football in a successful club career and that secured him the post when Osieck was sacked.
The 48-year-old's long stint as national youth team coach was less successful and his lack of experience of football outside Australia, barring a brief spell in Greece, could work against him in Brazil.
With Australia hosting the Asian Cup in 2015, Postecoglou has been handed a five-year contract and avoiding humiliation in Brazil while blooding the core of a side which can go on dominate in Asia is probably his most realistic goal.
Star Player: Tim Cahill
At 33, Cahill may be winding down his career at the New York Red Bulls but he remains a totemic figure for the Socceroos as they head towards their fourth appearance at the World Cup.
A tally of 29 goals in 66 internationals is impressive enough for an attacking midfielder and that is before considering the importance of many of them.
The former Everton favourite famously belies his diminutive stature with a formidable ability to leap above defenders and get his head on the ball.
A fierce competitor, Cahill is the only remaining player in the running to play for Australia in Brazil who could be described as world class.
How they qualified: Asian zone: Final Group B runners-up
World Cup record
Previous appearances: 3 (1974, 2006, 2010)
Best performance: Last 16 in 2006