Socceroos defender Kye Rowles feared his World Cup chances were ruined for the entire time he nursed a broken foot.
Rowles broke his right foot on August 28 playing for his Scottish club Hearts.
Just three days before Australia's World Cup squad was announced, Rowles returned to action - and even then, only off the bench for the final minutes of a game.
But Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has punted on the 24-year-old, who admits to pinching himself now that he's at the World Cup in Qatar.
Asked if there was a stage during his recovery he thought his Cup chances were dashed, Rowles replied: "Pretty much like the whole time."
"I had to come back super fast," he told reporters in Doha.
"And there is always a risk of pushing the limit a bit too much.
"I didn't really have time for even a tiny little setback where it's three or four days off.
"Hats off to everyone involved for getting me back to a playing level ... I am just getting fitter and stronger every day and sharper as well.
"It has gone from the back of mind now. I am 100 per cent ready to go."
Rowles is in the frame to partner Harry Souttar in central defence when the Socceroos open their campaign against champions France next Tuesday (Wednesday AEST).
And the former Central Coast Mariner, who has just three Socceroos caps, admits the last few months have been a blur.
"I made my (Socceroos) debut in June and it's November and I am at a World Cup," he said.
"It has just been so quick, almost lost for words, to be honest.
"It's real but it still feels surreal, if that makes any sense.
"We were in club football still just a weekend ago so it has all happened pretty quick ... it's just one of those pinch yourself moments."