Winger Brett Emerton and defender Lucas Neill were both included in the Socceroos squad as Australia enjoyed an eventful World Cup campaign.
Both started the first game as Australia got off to the perfect start with a 3-1 victory over Japan to send them top of the group.
Brazil, boasting the likes of Roberto Carlos, Kaka, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, were next up for Guus Hiddink’s side, and whist Australia put in a spirited display, they slipped to a 2-0 defeat – again both Rovers stars played the full 90 minutes.
The final group game against Croatia – famed for the three yellow cards received by Croatia’s Josip Simunic – saw Australia progress to the knock-out stage following a 2-2 draw. However, the game ended on a bitter note for Emerton, who was sent off in the final minutes for a second caution.
Only Italy stood in the way of Australia and the quarter-finals in just their second ever World Cup campaign. With Emerton suspended, it was down to Neill to fly the Rovers flag, but there was to be heartbreak for the Socceroos.
With the match seconds from extra-time, Fabio Grosso went down easily under Neill’s challenge and Francesco Totti converted the resultant spot-kick to send the Italian’s through by the skin of their teeth.