Thirty-one long years it had been ... since the Socceroos had participated in the biggest sporting event in the world. Constant heartbreak every four years had not only crushed the spirits of football fanatics within this great land, but held back the sport here for decades.

It was believed this tragic tale played out because of the actions of a witchdoctor in Mozambique, who placed a curse on the Socceroos in 1969. Legend goes the witchdoctor had "helped" the Socceroos beat Rhodesia in a World Cup qualifier that year ... and wasn't happy about the Socceroos making tracks without paying him his dues.

The Socceroos did manage to qualify for their first-ever World Cup in the next edition, but constant heartbreak after that had fans believing the men in green and gold truly were cursed.

In the following years, the Socceroos failed to overcome a Scottish side managed by the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson in 1985, and were totally outclassed by an Argentinean squad led by Diego Maradona in 1993. But none of these failed attempts, or even the tear-jerker in Uruguay during the Socceroos' 2001 campaign, compared to their heartbreak against Iran in 1997.

Two goals up that night with one hand holding a ticket to Paris, a delay by serial pest Peter Hore and a comeback by Iran crushed green and gold hearts.

So much was at stake, then, on November 16, 2005. The A-League was in its infancy and soccer needed a major boost to put itself up with the major football codes in this country.

But this night wasn't just the night where Mark Bresciano put Australia back into the tie. Or the night where Mark Schwarzer made two crucial saves in the penalty shootout, or where John Aloisi scored the winning spot-kick, or the night a long drought finally ended.

November 16, 2005 was the night when the sleeping giant finally awoke ... And the rest is history ...

Oh, and the hoodoo? Film-maker John Safran put an end to that during his own visit to Mozambique, where he hired another witchdoctor to reverse the curse. All bullshit? Well, Australia hasn't missed the finals of the World Cup since ...