Just as in 1997, expectations were high but there was also a belief within the Socceroos squad that this time things were going to go their way.

"I remember thinking before the Iran game that everyone was thinking that this was it and we were going to qualify," Aloisi said.

"It was very similar when we came back from Uruguay to Sydney.

"We were probably a little bit more focused knowing it wasn't going to be easy but confident we could get the result.

"Sort of the same feeling and buzz that we'd had eight years previously."

Mark Bresciano's 35th-minute goal levelled the tie.

Shortly into extra-time, Aloisi got the nod to go on.

He sensed his moment had arrived.

"I was believing from the previous heartache that we'd had, and that I'd had personally, that I was going to be the one that was going to score the goal that could take us to the World Cup," Aloisi said.

"I'd been saying it for a long, long period to my family... I did have that belief."

The goal didn't come but the shootout did.

Aloisi admitted seeing Vidmar - so widely criticised for his performance against the Uruguayans four years earlier - among the penalty takers was a shock.

The veteran defender was one of three Australians to hit the target, after Harry Kewell and Lucas Neill.

Star striker Viduka missed but Mark Schwarzer's two saves, his second to deny Marcelo Zalayeta gave Aloisi his moment.

"When I was a 14-year-old I missed a penalty in a shootout and we ended up getting knocked out," he said.

"I remember how bad I felt and my legs felt like jelly when I was walking from the halfway line to the penalty spot so I never wanted to have that feeling again.

"I did say to myself when I was going through my career that I would be prepared whenever I had to take a penalty."

Aloisi had practised at the same end of Stadium Australia the day before - flawlessly.

The plan was simple, repeat exactly what he did in training.

"When I looked up I could see it just touch the net but for half a second there wasn't any noise so I was a little bit worried," he said.

"Then I started running.

"If you see a photo when I first start running it's a little bit like a shock feel because I wasn't sure but then half a second later I just heard the noise and the net do even more and I knew it was in.

"Then that was it. I just ran off.

"I knew where I was running. I was running to where my family were sitting but the shirt wasn't planned."

A few months later, Aloisi would be in Germany - the same country where the Socceroos had made their only previous World Cup finals appearance in 1974.

Australia would make more history in 2006 with their first goals and win at a World Cup - with Tim Cahill's double in the famous come-from-behind 3-1 result over Japan in their group stage opener in Kaiserslautern.

The scorer of the third goal that day?

Penalty shootout hero - John Aloisi.