Every squad selection contains difficult choices for the coach and even tougher news for those that miss the cut.
Bert van Marwijk's 26-man Socceroos squad for the World Cup next month is no different.
Here's a squad of those most unlucky to miss out on a spot on the plane to Russia.
Goalkeeper: Mitchell Langerak
The gloveman was clearly Ange Postecoglou's No.2, keeping in a crunch away tie against Iraq. A move to the J.League couldn't edge him back in front of Brad Jones and Danny Vukovic.
Full-backs: Alex Gersbach, Brad Smith
Gersbach, 21, has barely put a foot wrong in a national team shirt and is flying with French club Lens. The Graham Arnold favourite seems destined to have a long international career but will miss out on Russia. Bournemouth-based Smith, 24, was Postecoglou's most used left-back but has fallen off the radar for club and country.
Central defenders: Bailey Wright, Rhys Williams
Wright played in 12 of the Socceroos' 22 qualifiers, including every minute of the two-legged play-off with Honduras but the Bristol City captain has been overlooked for more mobile options. Williams hasn't been involved internationally for years due to injuries but his form with Melbourne Victory had him on the cusp of a recall. May now never get his chance.
Midfield: Terry Antonis, Jimmy Jeggo, Mustafa Amini
Antonis' late season A-League heroics were a reminder of his ability - and why he was the youngest man in Australia's victorious 2015 Asian Cup squad. A disastrous move to Europe stalled his career, now being rebuilt at Victory. Jeggo has been a mainstay of Austrian runners-up Sturm Graz but can't find his way into a strong Socceroos midfield. Amini is also a regular for Danish high-fliers AGF but hasn't progressed beyond a fringe Socceroos option.
Wingers: Brandon Borrello, Craig Goodwin
Borrello's late-season form in Germany looked to have him in contention for a spot on the plane before a knee injury put paid to that. At 22, his time could still come. Goodwin left Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam earlier this month due to a lack of game time and has been out of the international picture since last year when he was included in the 23-man squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Syria and Malaysia.
Striker: Jamie Maclaren
Given the lack of goals the Socceroos are scoring at club level, it seems folly to overlook the Hibernian striker. Eight goals in 15 appearances in a loan spell with the Edinburgh side - including a hat-trick against Rangers on Sunday - should have put the 24-year-old on the plane.
Coach: Ange Postecoglou
One day, the coach will reveal exactly why he isn't coaching the side in Russia. The Melburnian will be watching on from Yokohama after leaving his post to take up a coaching role in the J.League - instead of becoming the first Australian to qualify a side for a World Cup and manage them at the finals.
Bench: Adam Federici, Ryan McGowan, Matthew Spiranovic, Luke Brattan, Riley McGree, Apostolos Giannou.