Mile Jedinak's Socceroos qualified for the fourth time in a row with a nervy two leg playoff win over Syria thanks to the heroics of a brace from 38 year old Tim Cahill. Then due to Mile Jedinak, they made short work of Honduras. Still, it was difficult to qualify despite winning the AFC Asian Cup along on the way in 2015.
Australia have a tough game first up against group favourites France before Denmark and finally the underrated Peru.
The Socceroos are a mix of old and new players under new manager Bert Van Marwijk with the last of a short list of ageing stars set for likely their last run on the world stage in Villa's Mile Jedinak (33), Tim Cahill (38, Millwall) and lesser known Mark Milligan (32, Ah Ahli).
A new wave of talent has come through the Socceroos squad since 2014 under previous manager Ange Postecoglou (who resigned upon qualification), most notably goalkeeper Matthew Ryan (Brighton & Hove Albion), midfielder Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town) and winger Matthew Leckie (Hertha Berlin) as standouts. One to watch is the World Cup's youngest player, Daniel Arzani (19, Melbourne City), who is capable of some magic and linked up well with Villa's Ross McCormack on his loan spell to Melbourne.
With an experienced but workmanlike defensive line Bert Van Marwijk has favoured 4 at the back and looked defensively solid in the lead up with wins over Czech Republic (4-0) and Hungary (2-1) with Centre Back Trent Sainsbury sharing the armband with Mile Jedinak.
Jedinak has been in and out of the starting lineup leading into the World Cup but with a tough group and less notable defence don't be surprised to see Mile shielding and distributing similar to at Villa. There are rumours circling that he'll start Australia's first World Cup 2018 match against Spain on the bench.
Australia have some talent but come in as underdogs to make it out of the group stage for the first time since 2006. They're an enjoyable team to watch and happen to have one of the best beards of the tournament, tune in and see them in action if you can!