Mark Bresciano never dreamt of Australia competing at a World Cup.
"I was born in the 1980s and Australia was never in the World Cup, so I couldn't even have that dream," he says.
But now, here he is: about to feature as a player in his third World Cup and with striker Tim Cahill arguably the most important Socceroos in Brazil.
Bresciano's canny creative abilities in midfield are pivotal to Australia's chances of, as he puts it, "shocking the world".
And Bresciano is adamant the Socceroos shouldn't be daunted by fixtures against Chile on Saturday morning, then the Netherlands and reigning champs Spain.
"Yes, they are better teams than us, better players - you can see that on paper," he says.
"But the good thing at a World Cup, anything can happen.
"It's a one-off game. We're hoping that they're going to have a bad day and we're going to capitalise and be ready for it."
The 34-year-old, appointed joint vice-captain with Cahill under new skipper Mile Jedinak, believes the new crop of Socceroos have the talent to surprise in Brazil.
"They are the future, they're the players that are going to be representing our country in years to come," he says.
"So what us senior boys have to try and do is pass on our experiences, our knowledge.
"There is a good mixture between the senior players and the younger boys. Us senior boys can see their qualities."
Bresciano's path to his third consecutive World Cup was bumpy.
The gifted playmaker served a four-month FIFA suspension for an illegal transfer between clubs in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Bresciano says his stint on the sidelines from last November further steeled his determination to play in the World Cup in Brazil.
"Those four months, it was not like I was injured," he says.
"I kept training and did everything possible to keep my fitness up."
Bresciano trained with A-League club Melbourne Heart before returning to Al Gharafa in Qatar to resume playing.
His troubled preparation is comparable to 2010, when he beat a back injury to play in the World Cup in South Africa.
After that tournament, he took almost two years off from national duties - a decision that he says enabled him to reach a third World Cup.
"If I kept going, I was going to burn out," Bresciano says.
"I returned from the back injury, taking short cuts, and I paid the consequences.
"The best thing at that time was to have a break. That is one of the main reasons why I'm here today, because I had that break and gave my body a chance to recover. "In these last couple of years, the thing that has been firing me is that Brazil is around the corner.
"To have a dream, it makes you train harder, it keeps you focused, it makes you dedicate your life to the sport. It makes you want to make those sacrifices. Having a dream, regardless of whether it's sport or work or whatever - a dream is what keeps you alive, keeps you hungry and keeps you focused."
Bresciano also revealed another broader, collective dream of the Socceroos.
"Our main focus is trying to get this sport to grow as high as possible in Australia," he says. AAP