Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODPASTIMES -

THE Aus­tralian gov­ern­ment hopes a good show­ing in South Africa will in­crease its chances of host­ing the World Cup but die-hard soc­cer fans fear the na­tion's best chance of lift­ing the tro­phy has been and gone. Four years ago in Ger­many the Soc­ceroos gifted Italy a penalty late in a game that could have seen them make the last eight.

Fast for­ward to South Africa 2010 and Aus­tralia are without world-class coach Guus Hid­dink. It's an un­set­tled side, with Hid­dink's suc­ces­sor, fel­low Dutch­man Pim Verbeek, still ex­per­i­ment­ing with the line-up.

An in­abil­ity to score goals and shal­low­ness of tal­ent could see the Aussies make an early exit.

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