With a 1-0 victory over a disappointing Denmark on Wednesday, Australia reached the World Cup’s last 16 for only the second time in their history.
Mathew Leckie, a winger, scored the goal on the hour with a smart run and finish to end Denmark’s hopes of qualifying for the group stage in Qatar.
With Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, and Mark Viduka in their ranks, Australia reached the knockout stages in 2006 and has now won consecutive World Cup games for the first time.
They reached the knockout stages in second place in Group D, behind holders France, and will play the winners of Group C, where Poland leads the group heading into the final round.
Even though the Socceroos do not have the stars of old, they make up for it with tenacity and hard work, and they showed glimpses of their potential in a strangely subdued match.
For the pre-match national anthem, all of Australia’s substitutes had their arms around each other, a sign of the unity that had brought them to the brink of elimination.
Denmark, the European semifinalists who needed to win to make it through, came out on top early on.
Milos Degenek, an Australian defender who made the only substitution from the team that beat Tunisia 1-0, made a crucial block that stopped Denmark from scoring almost immediately.
Brentford midfielder Mathias Jensen, from Denmark, fired a powerful shot at goal in the 11th minute, but goalkeeper Mathew Ryan saved it when he probably should have passed.
After an incisive run down the left by the dangerous Joakim Maehle, Socceroos captain Ryan was once more in the thick of it, frantically hacking the ball away with his feet.
On a rare Australian counterattack, Riley McGree stung Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the palms.
Australia were just about on top when a clean first-half wandered to a goalless end.