World Cup would cap meteoric rise for Milos Degenek under Postecoglou
Australia's Milos Degenek is targeting a World Cup "dream" just over a year after being left stranded without a club.
Bolting into the national team from the blue is becoming a popular route under coach Ange Postecoglou.
Apostolos Giannou, Chris Ikonomidis, Jackson Irvine, James Meredith and Bailey Wright all sat well outside the frame before being blooded.
But even by Postecoglou-era standards, Degenek's story takes some beating.
The 22-year-old had played three matches in three years with Stuttgart's reserves and was cut adrift after failing to make a single first-team appearance.
He chanced his arm with 1860 Munich, and hasn't looked back.
"I had no club. I was out of contract and went on a trial at 1860 and ended up signing there as a squad player," Degenek said.
"No one planned with me playing any games. Then I played the first half of the season, every single game.
"I got a call into the Socceroos and I surprised myself with that -- it was one of the best moments of my life."
Postecoglou delighted in Degenek's competitive debut against Iraq, declaring him a "real find" for the Socceroos.
Now Degenek, who plays mainly as a centre-back for his club but at right-back with the Socceroos, is tempted to raise his hopes a little higher.
Could he help Australia reach the 2018 tournament in Russia and then play on the biggest stage of all?
"I get goosebumps thinking about [the World Cup]," he said.
"If you asked me the same question 12 months ago, I would have said, 'look mate, I'm just happy I have a club and hoping to be in the squad for the weekend.'
"It would be a dream come true."
Degenek says he's willing to do what it takes, even if some of his 1860 teammates think he's mad to fly "halfway around the world just to play a game."
"That's why they're there and they're not playing for a national team and I'm playing for a national team because I'm willing to do it," he said.
"You should never turn down your national team."