Brazil 2014 should not be about results but approach and development, preparing for the Asian Cup six months later and Russia 2018.
It is natural that this is confronting to many since our history has always been about trying to qualify. However, as we mature, different strategic goals will emerge and longer-term views taken comfortably and without controversy.
This strategy likely flies in the face of much of Australian sport, if we assess whether the cricket, rugby union and other international sports are prepared to invest in an emerging team with the likelihood of adverse results in the short term, and given the massive scale of the World Cup next year.
However, the pay-off in experience gained and preparation for the next cycle would be massive.
Look how we're going at the moment across our traditional sports: shockingly, relative to our historic strength. The key question is whether to trade short-term results against long-term development, to use the most current team which necessitates an experienced group alongside emerging players, or to use the tournament to build for the future, which should create far better results with a team that has grown and improved together over time.
Many in the game, including myself, advocate the latter strategy, which is entirely independent of the coach, who is employed to implement not design strategy, although hope is fading as signs are not positive .
While the campaign stuttered and ran into difficulties in the last few matches - particularly after a shocking match against Oman at home from which we were fortunate to recover - the reaction of Frank Lowy was telling at the final whistle against Iraq. Lowy made his way down to the field to make a public show of affection with Holger Osieck, the sense of relief both understandable and palpable from the Football Federation Australia chairman. Failure to qualify would have been a financial catastrophe, but the overriding impression was one of vindication, that this proves the FFA chose the right candidate, and our job is done.
It immediately struck me that, to Lowy and confidantes, qualification marked the end of questioning whereas for the rest of us it marked the beginning. Qualification, and the clear air it provides, is merely an opportunity to review performances, check strategy, chart progression or otherwise and make decisions accordingly.
This is why, immediately prior to the last matches and post-qualification, I have enjoyed David Gallop's refusal to publicly endorse the status quo in terms of team leadership, because this should be constantly under review, rather than breathing a great sigh of relief at a job well done, as seems to be the case.
The coach is not the priority, the strategy is, with leadership decisions based around this. The question remains as to how Australia will approach next year's tournament with a view towards the future. In fairness, Tommy Oar and Robbie Kruse have established themselves, however it is imperative that Tom Rogic now inherits a national team shirt to deepen his international experience ahead of the 2015 Asian Cup and next qualification campaign, as well as at least one central defender such as the excellent Trent Sainsbury. The justification for leaving out the goalscoring left back Jason Davidson - playing regularly for Eredevisie club, Heracles Almelo - given our continuing struggles in this position since Stan Lazaridis and Scott Chipperfield retired, is mystifying.
It would be ideal to take an emerging squad to Brazil next year with a view entirely on the following five years as, for instance, Japan did in 1998 ahead of their best performance at home in 2002, and to potentially sacrifice results for the benefits of experience. This would provide a great opportunity to articulate the long-term plan to the Australian public well ahead of time.
I am certain Australia would respond with great understanding and excitement at an emerging group playing in Brazil next year, whatever the results might be.
Once we develop to a top 10 football nation in years to come, making semi-finals and even winning become the aim. However, as a nation that is realigning philosophically and seeking to improve step-by-step, the Cup itself becomes another vehicle to gain experience along the way, rather than something at which we have to always throw the most experienced group we can possibly find.
I, for one, would welcome the possibility - even likelihood - of negative results with the potential to grow at a faster rate and exceed expectations at the following tournament. This should be the national football debate over the next few months to ensure the best interests of our long-term future are promoted.
Twitter - @Craig_Foster