By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Curtis Good's call-up to the senior Australia side for March's friendly against Ecuador was a shock to everyone, not least the young Magpie. And now the defender has set his sights on another surprise, by helping the Socceroos' progress from the World Cup's 'group of death'…
"There's always one surprise team at every World Cup - a side who causes a few shocks. Why can't that be us?"
Curtis Good speaks with conviction and authority that belies his tender years and rookie status as an international footballer.
But then again, the Newcastle United defender knows all too well about being a surprise package.
Three months ago, the mere suggestion of 21-year-old Good travelling to Brazil this summer as part of the Socceroos' squad would have been met with ridicule.
Uncapped, he was just starting a loan spell with Scottish Premier League outfit Dundee United and had made one first team appearance for the Magpies - in a Capital One Cup tie at Morecambe last August.
But some impressive displays north of the border caught the eye of national head coach Ange Postecoglou, who handed Good a first call-up for a friendly against Ecuador in March.
Just being part of the senior party was enough for the former Melbourne Heart man, but Postecoglou had other ideas, naming Good in his starting line-up and giving the debutant more than an hour's action.
"I had talked to the national manager once before that but it was still a bit of a surprise," explained the now once-capped left-sided defender.
"I had only been on loan for about a month before that, so I wasn't really expecting it at all.
"To make the squad itself was great but to be handed a start was another surprise.
"As a youngster, you always think 'maybe I'm just going in to make up the numbers or get used to the environment', but when you are told you are starting it suddenly becomes pretty real!
"It has all come about really quick, and even going back to the turn of the (calendar) year, it wasn't even in my mind.
"I wasn't in the (international) picture, but now there's a chance I could be going to the World Cup, and that is crazy."
Having made his country's provisional 30-man party, Good is well aware that his place in the Socceroos' final World Cup squad is far from certain.
He knows a place on the plane would be the biggest moment of his fledgling career to date, but if not selected, the youngster will be glued to his television screen, just as in previous years.
"It's hard to describe what going to the World Cup would mean but it's about as big as it gets," he said.
"For the last two World Cups I've been back home, getting up at about 3am to watch Australia play, and I will do the same again if I have to.
"The 2006 tournament was the big one because we made it for the first time since 1974, and the whole country was behind the team.
"I remember watching as we got through the group but then lost in the last minute to Italy, who then went on to win it.
"Ever since that moment, it's been massive in my mind and has always been a goal of mine to achieve.
"Getting selected would mean everything to me.
"Pulling on the national jersey, at whatever level and wherever it is, you are always proud. But to do it at a World Cup would be at a whole different level."
Australia's task will be far from easy, however - drawn into Group B alongside reigning world and European champions Spain, 2010 finalists Holland and Chile, who are currently ranked 14th in the world.
But Good believes a winning start could see the Socceroos' become the tournament's surprise package.
"Groups don't get much harder than Spain, Holland and Chile but we will have a lot of fans going over to Brazil, so we will have a great backing and hopefully that can help us," he said.
"It's a tough group - really tough - but if we can get a good result in the first game against Chile then anything can happen.
"The World Cup always throws up surprises and there's no reason why we can't cause a few out in Brazil."
This article was first produced for Newcastle United's official matchday programme against Cardiff City on Saturday, 3rd May. To purchase a copy of the World Cup special publication, click here.