Ex-Socceroo Jacob Burns believes if Australia fail to reach Russia it would be disastrous for football in this country for more than just financial reasons.
Nations that qualify for the World Cup receive around AUD $12.5 million from FIFA, with other monetary rewards as well.
But apart from the initial financial boost the Socceroos will benefit from increased sponsor, media and general interest nation-wide.
Burns said some of the Socceroos could earn transfers to top European clubs by playing in the tournament in Russia.
The 39-year-old does not believe the theory, proposed by some, that missing out on the World Cup could somehow be a 'blessing in disguise' and help get Australian football's house in order.
"I don't subscribe to any of that, it can't be good for anyone not qualifying for the biggest tournament in the world, the biggest sporting event in the world," he told FourFourTwo.
"For our aspiring footballers to not be able to watch your country, I've been there, I've come through the ranks and played in qualifiers and been there when natioal teams weren't qualifying.
"We have to keep qualifying for these major tournaments. Off the back of that players get moves to bigger clubs in Europe and they're on that stage. And that's what we want to see."
The Socceroos playing in the World Cup can also help boost participation numbers and has a positive flow-on effect to the A-League.
Burns, who is now Perth Glory's general manager of football, said World Cup involvement can get kids more interested in the sport.
"You've seen it before in World Cups that have gone by the amount of young kids who are wearing their Socceroos jerseys with the Cahill name and the like down their backs, that's what it's all about," he said.
"You can see what the Matildas are doing and the affect that they've had with their success. Fingers crossed we can get it. I'm sure the guys will give it everything out there."