World Cup: Australia leaves tournament

The Australians opened with a bang, rallying from 1-0 down with six minutes remaining to down Asian champion Japan 3-1. They acquitted themselves well in a 2-0 loss to world champion Brazil before coming back again to tie Croatia 2-2.

Amazingly, the Australians accomplished all of that while leading for just one minute in regulation time during the first round.

The Socceroos kept millions of fans Down Under up into the small hours of the morning to watch them on the world stage. And they helped elevate soccer back home to the level of rugby and cricket - two sports in which they've won multiple world championships, the AP reports.

Football Federation Australia has big shoes to fill now that Hiddink is leaving to take over the Russian national team. In just a year in a largely part-role, Hiddink turned the Australians into a frighteningly fit team that could carry out his savvy tactics.

Standing on the sidelines, the hands-on Hiddink directed his team like an NBA coach. And behind the scenes, he made believers out of a team that was more familiar with watching the World Cup on TV from holiday destinations.