The islanders came excruciatingly close to reaching the second round of Oceania qualifying in Adelaide. Finishing with seven points from four matches in Group 1 of the preliminary competition, the minnows will now put their efforts into South Africa 2010 as their Germany 2006 dreams were cruelly dashed.
Though a scoreless draw with Tahiti, an 8-0 win over the Cook Islands and another 8-0 reverse of Tonga will have left spirits high, a slim loss to the much-improved Solomons saw them tumble unfortunately out of the preliminary competition in Honiara.
Admitted to FIFA in 2005, New Caledonia have actually been competing regularly with their South Pacific island neighbours since at least the early 1950s and produced a FIFA world champion in 1998 in Lifou-native Christian Karembeu, who played for France.
And though officially they are relative newcomers, the French overseas territory has already shown its mettle in the Oceania region with an impressive showing at the OFC U-20 Championship in 2007 when they came within a whisker of upsetting eventual champions New Zealand.
Although New Caledonia's club champions AS Mont Dore featured in the OFC Champions League 2007 (O-League), they finished bottom of a group that featured eventual winners Waitakere United (NZL) and FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2006 participants Auckland City.
New Caledonia's prospects of progressing further in FIFA World Cup qualifying appear healthy if their record at previous South Pacific Games football tournaments is anything to go by. Indeed, they have won four gold medals in 1963, 1969, 1971 and 1987 and with the South Pacific Games doubling up as the first phase of qualification for the FIFA World Cup, no one will take the islanders for granted as they hunt for a spot in South Africa.