In psychology, the concept of “normalisation” is when our mind rationalises the extraordinary and it becomes, over time, what we expect as the standard.

In a recent study, those who watched films featuring obsessive romantic behaviour, including There’s Something About Mary, were more likely to accept “stalking-supportive beliefs” than the other participants, who watched films showing male aggression.

Australia has normalised being at the World Cup. Four consecutive appearances will do that.

What should be considered an extraordinary achievement has become the standard. Failing to qualify is not merely a disappointment, but a seemingly incredulous failure. This is unfortunate.

Firstly, it prevents us from pausing and genuinely appreciating the scale of the achievement that is qualification and those individual journeys of players that have taken us there.

We go to World Cups lead by players like Mile Jedinak. A player, who as a 20-something without a professional match to his name, went from a week to week contract and a four-hour daily round trip to captain a team in the Premiership. Similarly, Aziz Behich was forced to go back and play in the State League with his junior club on the eve of his 20th birthday after being cut from his National Youth League team.

Every single player among the 23 selected to go the World Cup will have an individual story of persistence, of resilience and of sacrifice. None of our players ride the escalator to a top a club through a seamless talent identification system. They have to fight. And, more often than not, hope. A failure to not only tell, but deeply appreciate, these stories is a lost opportunity to paint the Socceroos as not only a team that has the optics of modern Australia, but the team that echoes the spirit of what it historically means to be Australian.

Secondly, it demonstrates that we have failed to genuinely recognise what it means to be part of the AFC and we continue to define our standards and expectations by those who sit outside of our sport.

Our standards – and that of another hundred nations who start climbing the mountain – are to qualify for the World Cup. That is a given. But the ubiquitous sense that qualification is some kind of formality is manifestly wrong.

In one school of thought, Australia is a huge over-achiever on the global stage.

Not only do we navigate the most logistically challenging qualification campaign in the world, but we do so with fewer than 400 professional players drawn from a population split across four football codes and a host of other sports. We do so against emerging nations whose populations dwarf ours and whose financial investment in football continues to rise exponentially.

We are fortunate to have a team like the Socceroos, the Champions of Asia, who can represent us so consistently well on the global stage. It will again be an honour to watch them take on the world.

The PFA’s only request is that – whilst sitting back and thinking of the Italians, the Dutch and the Americans – we enjoy it for the extraordinary opportunity that it is.