Tim Cahill has admitted the Round of 16 exit from the 2006 World Cup in Germany was a great learning curve for the Australian national team. The Socceroos reached the second phase of the tournament only to be defeated by a last-minute penalty in their clash with Italy and although it was a shattering experience, Cahill says it has made the players stronger.
"It hurt, especially with the penalty being given when we were so close to extra time and with them having only ten men," Cahill said.
"I remember standing there, putting my hands on my head and thinking 'please don't shatter my dreams'," he recalled of Francesco Totti's spot-kick.
"The only positive I can take from it is that Italy went on to win the World Cup and we were one of their toughest opponents in the competition.
"I think things happen for a reason. For us, it was a great learning experience because it showed that if you don't punish a team with ten men during 90 minutes, then anything can happen."
Australia take on Germany in their opening game of next month's World Cup in South Africa and believes they can take maximum points if they are on their game.
"We know they are very disciplined and tactically very strong but, as it is the first game, there's no reason why we can't catch them cold," he added.
The Socceroos will also meet Ghana and Serbia in the finals which kick off on Friday June 11.