Rating the Caltex Socceroos' previous World Cup groups

The draw for the 2018 World Cup will be made early next month in Moscow.

We look back at Australia's last four World Cup appearances and rate the difficulty of the groups they were drawn into.

1974 (West Germany)

In their first ever appearance, Australia's part-timers took a long and tough road to the 16-team World Cup.

Captained by Peter Wilson, and led up front by Adrian Alston and with Johnny Warren in midfield, the Socceroos' first match was against East Germany, with the Europeans winning 2-0. 

Australia was far from disgraced against a tough opponent that featured the classy Juergen Sparwasser.

Then it was onto West Germany - the eventual winners of the World Cup after they went on to defeat Holland in the final 2-1. 

With some of the greatest players in the world at the time - Beckenbauer, Muller, Breitner and keeper Sepp Maier - the world-class West Germans took it out 3-0. 

Again, this was a brave effort by Rale Rasic's Aussies.

And with confidence growing, in the final group game, Australia picked up its first ever point at a World Cup with a 0-0 draw against Chile.

The game was played in torrential rain which didn't help with fluency. 

The Aussies playing with ten men for the final few minutes after Ray Richards received a late red card. 

Degree of difficulty: 9/10

Socceroos 1974 West Germany
West Germany great Gerd Muller heads past Jack Reilly.

2006 (Germany)

In their first appearance at the World Cup since 1974, Australia were handed a tough-looking pool.

The Caltex Socceroos began brilliantly though, with a Tim Cahill brace the feature of a 3-1 win over Japan.

Brazil proved too good, winning 2-0 in Munich, making the final group game against Croatia a crucial contest.

Trailing 2-1 with time running out, Harry Kewell netted the equaliser and sent his side through to the knockout rounds.

Degree of difficulty: 7/10

Harry Kewell
Harry Kewell celebrates his famous goal against Croatia.

2010 (South Africa)

Once again, the draw wasn't particularly kind to Australia, serving up three difficult opponents.

Germany overpowered the Caltex Socceroos 4-0 in their first outing, with Tim Cahill's questionable sending off adding to a dismal day.

Harry Kewell saw red in the second game against Ghana, but Brett Holman's goal earned Australia a 1-1 draw.

Holman scored again against Serbia in the third group fixture with Tim Cahill also on the scoresheet, but the heavy defeat to Germany ultimately proved costly, with Australia missing out on the knockout stages by virtue of a poorer goal difference than Ghana.

Degree of difficulty: 8/10

Brett Holman 2010 World Cup
Brett Holman was on target twice in 2010.

2014 (Brazil)

Australia were well and truly drawn into a "Group of Death" at their most recent World Cup appearance.

Chile were first up and quickly took a 2-0 lead before Tim Cahill scored for the third World Cup in succession, but couldn't prevent a 3-1 defeat.

Cahill was again to the fore in game two, blasting home one of the all-time great World Cup goals against Netherlands, but the Caltex Socceroos were again defeated, this time 3-2.

Defending champions Spain awaited in the final game, and with both teams already out of contention, Spain prevailed 3-0.

Degree of difficulty: 9/10

Tim Cahill
Tim Cahill made more history in 2014.