Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold has admitted the decision to keep the Qatar 2022 to just 32 nations instead of the proposed 48 means Australia's task won't be easy.
The Socceroos have found it harder and harder to qualify for World Cups since Pim Verbeek qualified for South Africa 2010 with games to spare.
Holger Osieck left it to the last 12 minutes against Iraq to book Australia's place at Brazil 2014 and Ange Postecoglou needed to go through two gruelling rounds of play-offs after finishing fifth in 2017.
A move to a 48-nation World Cup would almost certainly have guaranteed the Socceroos could sail into a spot at Qatar 2022, but keeping it at 32 has raised the stakes once more.
"We know it's going to be a difficult challenge," said Arnold today as he unveiled his experimental squad for the firendly against Korea next month.
"But I have all the belief and confidence in this group of players. That's the purpose of this game, to create that depth and give those players that experience of playing international football.
"Bert van Marwijk at Russia 2018 trusted probably 11 or 12 players. I'll go into this World Cup campaign trusting 30."
He added: "I don't see it as the job being harder though. It's a job that's what it always was.
"We're just glad that it's out the way and we can focus on what we need to do and how we expect to do it.
"The World Cup draw for the first phase is on July 16/17 and we'll know the first part of the journey. It is what it is and we'll be ready for that...and we are ready."
Included in the squad are Sydney's penalty shoot out hero Andrew Redmayne and midfield maestro Brandon O'Neill and returns for Josh Brillante and Rhyan Grant among several A-League call-ups including Terry Antonis, Craig Goodwin, Thomas Deng, Chris Ikonomidis, Dimi Petratos and Matthew Spiranovic.
Redmayne will face a challenge for the matchday gloves from Melbourne Victory Lawrence Thomas, despite the glovesman often being overlooked for club duties by Kevin Muscat, and also the returning Mitch Langerak who has been notchng up gametime in Japan.
With Mat Ryan and many of the other Socceroo regulars being given a much needed rest after a long campaign of World Cups, qualifying, Asian Cup and Confederations Cup, it's meant a return for some old faces to prove they are still worthy contenders.
Arnie admitted he had never met former Ange Postecoglou favourite Brad Smith but was keen to see him in action.
"I saw what he did under Ange in the past and he was an exciting player, said Arnie. "He can get up and down on the left hand side and he's got a great left foot on him.
"We want competition for places and Brad is doing exceptionally well in the MLS where he's playing weekly."
Arnie cited the left back position as Australia's strongest at the moment, with Smith vying with several others including Craig Goodwin who also makes a return to the Roos...but Perth Glory full back Jason Davidson was unlucky to miss the cut.
"He was very close," said the Socceroos boss. "But I see Jason every week - and he's done a great job for Perth Glory. What I haven't seen is Brad Smith close up.
"The plan is to have that depth at every position – and left back is probably our strongest position at the moment."