SOCCEROOS coach Holger Osieck told Australian supporters not to worry about the team copping a spanking in Brazil after it took a last gasp goal to earned their World Cup spot.
As the nation celebrated Tuesday night's 1-0 win over Iraq and Australia's progression to the World Cup Finals, some pundits were already suggesting the Socceroos' struggle to qualify could be a sign of a nightmare Brazil 2014 campaign.
But Osieck sought to play down those fears as he addressed the Socceroos fans on Wednesday at Sydney's Customs House.
"I'm very happy for you guys, for your great support and that we could make it to the World Cup," declared the coach. "We'll make you proud for sure."
Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop joined in the euphoria.
"This is the thing that other countries want to be part of," Gallop declared. "This is important for Australian football, this is important for Australian sport.
"This is important for our nation."
He added: "It's been a journey which has had some ups and downs but our team has stayed disciplined.
"They've stayed committed. They've stayed courageous and I congratulate Holger Osieck, all of the staff and the Socceroos for getting us there in 2014."
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO FOOTAGE OF THEIR CELEBRATIONS
One of the players delighted to play a role in qualifying was Melbourne Victory striker Archie Thompson, who's been used as a late substitute by Osieck to great effect in the last two qualifying matches against Jordan and Iraq.
Having missed out on the World Cup finals in 2010, Thompson was thrilled to be part of the action this time around and hopeful of a place in Rio.
"Due to my knee injury, I missed the last World Cup," Thompson told SEN on Tuesday night after the win over Iraq. "Every opportunity I've got with the Socceroos, I don't want to take it for granted.
"I'm getting on a little bit now and there's some great young talent coming through and I'm just thankful to be a part of another qualifying campaign.
"Obviously tonight was fantastic, just for the fact that our backs were up against the wall pretty much through the second phase of the qualifying and a lot of critics were obviously questioning the squad's ability.
"To obviously pull through that and then to obviously win too was fantastic.
"The crowd that we had in Melbourne - unbelievable. The crowd that we had in Sydney again unbelievable and again it was an amazing night and something I'll never forget.
"It's still 12 months to the World Cup squad's announced so there's plenty of hard work still to be done in the next 12 months."
(c) Sportal Australia
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