Manager: Pim Verbeek
Best: Round two (2006)
Australia may be a nation of over-achievers on the sports field, but soccer falls way behind cricket and various forms of rugby on the priority list of its jocks. That said, the Socceroos showed at the last World Cup that they're not to be trifled with, making it through to the knockout stages where they were narrowly defeated by a controversial late penalty by eventual winners Italy. Coach Pim Verbeek will be hoping his talismanic winger Harry Kewell will recover from a long-term injury (he's been included in the 23-man squad) in time to join the likes of Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella and Brett Emerton in an imposing midfield. Captain Lucas Neill is another English Premier League veteran, who marshals a tight defense. The squad is light on strikers, however, which means that for goals they may have to rely on Cahill getting forward from midfield.
Player to watch: Tim Cahill. The Everton attacking midfielder just can't help scoring, more often with his head than with his feet.