Contrary to popular belief, Oceania was first represented at the World Cup Finals in 1982, when New Zealand qualified for Spain after playing fifteen matches, travelling over sixty thousand miles by air, scoring a record forty-four goals in the process of qualifying, and recorded a then World Cup record victory over Fiji, 13-0.
Two years prior to qualifying for the 1974 World Cup Finals, Australia resigned its membership of the Oceania Football Confederation, in order to pursue membership of the Asian Football Confederation. They did not rejoin Oceania until 1978.
Taiwan were also members of Oceania between 1975 and 1989, either side of which they were part of the Asian Confederation, while in the qualification process for both the 1986 World Cup Finals, Israel was part of the Oceania qualifying process, at the direction of FIFA.
Direct qualification for the World Cup Finals has long been an issue pursued by Oceania on behalf of its member nations, and it is only now that the behind-the-scenes manoeuvres instigated by former OFC President, Charlie Dempsey, throughout the later years of the twentieth century, are beginning to bear fruit in this regard, culminating in the announcement, on December 18, 2002, of the attainment of direct qualification by the Oceania Confederation to the FIFA World Cup Finals of 2006 and beyond.
Of course, that all changed some six months later, when FIFA, following behind-the-scenes politicking of the highest order, announced a complete reversal of that decision, returning their youngest Confederation to the position it previously held - the only Confederation within the make-up of FIFA which doesn't enjoy automatic qualification to the world's most prestigious sporting competition.
This development was a catalyst for Australia, the foremost nation in Oceania, to consider the prospect of switching Confederations to Asia, the Confederation they were representing when they played at the 1974 FIFA World Cup Finals.
That switch took place at the end of 2005, by which time Australia had - ironically, in the circumstances - qualified as Oceania's representatives for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Finals.
The lack of direct qualification for Oceania has invariably meant a series of play-offs have been required to determine progress beyond the Pacific basin.
Matches against opponents from the UEFA (Israel, Scotland), CONCACAF (Canada) and CONMEBOL (Argentina, Uruguay) Confederations have taken place over time, while the current path sees Oceania needing to play off against Asian opposition to advance to the World Cup Finals.