When the Socceroos were seeking volunteers to take penalties in their historic World Cup qualifying playoff against Uruguay in 2005, there was little doubt John Aloisi would be on the list.

What was unclear was what number penalty Aloisi would take as Australia aimed to end more than three decades of pain by reaching the game's greatest spectacle.

"Graham Arnold was asking who wants to take a penalty and I was one of the first ones to put up my hand," Aloisi told AAP.

"He said 'OK, you go first' and I said 'nah, I'd rather go No.5'."

A few minutes later, Aloisi - who had been telling anyone who'd listen for months he would score the goal to take Australia to the World Cup - was sprinting away, waving his gold shirt over his head as more than 80,000 fans in Sydney's Olympic Stadium and millions at home began celebrating.

That celebration has become an iconic image in a defining moment for football in Australia.

Fox Sports recently replayed the full 120 minutes and shootout of that November 2005 Sydney spectacle, and social media lit up with fans reliving every moment.

Aloisi's journey to that penalty began years before however - in the heartache of 1997's play-off exit at the MCG against Iran.

The striker was an unused substitute in both legs as Iran came from 2-0 down in the second leg to qualify on away goals with a 2-2 draw in Melbourne.

Four years later - two-time World Cup winners Uruguay inflicted more agony as a 3-0 win in Montevideo ended another Socceroos qualification bid.

Aloisi did get on the field that time but only for the last 10 minutes of the second leg with the Uruguayans 2-0 up.

Having suffered so much torment, Aloisi admits he contemplated quitting the national team rather than committing to another qualifying campaign.

But he ploughed on and said the Socceroos were happy to once again be drawn against Uruguay in a two-legged playoff for a spot at Germany 2006.

Not for revenge but because they knew they could match the South Americans.

For many of Australia's greatest footballers - captain Mark Viduka, defenders Tony Vidmar and Tony Popovic and Aloisi - the Uruguay games in 2005 were their final shot at a World Cup.

Under the leadership of Dutch coach Guus Hiddink, the Socceroos made sure they learned the lessons from their defeat four years earlier.

"We were comfortable to play there (in Uruguay) first... The result itself was good one, not a great one." Aloisi said.

Uruguay arrived in Australia with a 1-0 lead but Aloisi said the vibe was different this time.