After failing to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 1966 and 1970, Australia eventually appeared at its first World Cup in West Germany, 1974. After managing only a draw with Chile and losses from East Germany and West Germany, the team was eliminated at the end of the first round, finishing last in their group without scoring a goal. It would prove to be the only appearance for the Australian team until the World Cup tournament returned to Germany more than three decades later in 2006
Mark Viduka began captaining the Australian national team in September 2005, in place of the injured Craig Moore, the regular captain. Viduka thrived under Guus Hiddink's tenure as coach and led Australia as it qualified for the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany over a two-leg qualifier against Uruguay, the first time in 32 years that Australia qualified to participate in the event
On 21 May 2006, he was named as the Australian captain for the World Cup in Germany and led the 'Socceroos' to their first World Cup Finals victory with a 3–1 win over Japan.
In 43 appearances 'Duks' scored 11 times for Australia and retired in 2009
An intelligent center forward, he was a typical number 9 and had ability in all elements of the game. Viduka made a name for himself playing in the English Premier league with Middlesborough, Newcastle Utd and most notably Leeds Utd. Hero worshiped at Leeds he will be forever remembered for scoring all 4 goals as Leeds beat Liverpool 4-3 at Elland Road
Football in Australia will probably always refer to a different game entirely and although it may never be considered the 'national' game, 'soccer' has a high level of participation in the country
The fully professional A-League domestic competition has been operating since 2005 and only shows signs of expanding. The national team has benefited, appearing in the last two world cup finals and during qualification in 2010 they reached their highest placing, 14th, in the FIFA World Rankings