Australia became the second country from the Asian Zone to reach the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ after they secured the single point they needed against Qatar at the Al Sadd Club Stadium in Doha.
With Japan having earlier booked their passage with victory in Uzbekistan, Pim Verbeek's side sewed up the second automatic spot in Group A and can count themselves unfortunate not to have taken all three points.
Qatar had the first real chance after 18 minutes when Sebastian Quintana brought down a long ball but fired narrowly wide of the far post.
Scott Chipperfield then blazed over for the visitors when well placed before Harry Kewell saw his effort stopped by the legs of goalkeeper Qasem Burhan. The loose ball fell to Carl Valeri at the edge of the area but his shot was deflected over by a defender.
Qatar almost went ahead against the run of play in the 37th minute when Bilal Mohammed laid the ball off to Quintana from a corner but his stinging drive was deflected over the bar.
Qualifying this time around, with the travel and match
conditions the team has experienced, is a true measure of the
progress we have made.
Australia came closest to breaking the deadlock 10 minutes after the interval when Cahill headed a corner goalwards and Chris Coyne neatly flicked the ball past Burhan only for Mesaad Al Hamad to clear off the line. Burhan then pulled off a fine save to palm away Cahill's fierce drive before turning away a Kewell shot that was heading towards the top corner.
With 11 minutes remaining, Kewell robbed Talal Al Bloushi on the left of the box but dragged his effort wastefully wide. It did not matter, however, as Australia secured a place in consecutive FIFA World Cup finals for the first time in their history.
"It's another first for Australian football and it's come off the back of a comprehensive qualification pathway which began in February last year," Football Federation of Australia chief executive Ben Buckle said in a statement.
"Qualifying this time around, with the travel and match conditions the team has experienced, is a true measure of the progress football has made. While 'do or die' results, such as the famous Uruguay game four years ago are exciting, a qualifying campaign such as this one through the Asian zone is a tough test. We could not be more delighted."