Caltex Socceroos Head Coach Ange Postecoglou has named a 23-man squad for two crucial 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers later this month against Iraq (March 23 in Tehran) and the UAE (March 28 in Sydney).
Postecoglou’s squad shines a bright light on the Hyundai A-League with Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC), Riley McGree (Adelaide United), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Daniel Vukovic (Sydney FC) and Rhys Williams (Perth Glory) all named in the final list.
The squad also includes experienced stars Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Robbie Kruse, Trent Sainsbury and Mark Milligan, who will line up alongside five uncapped players (Mustafa Amini, James Jeggo, Grant, McGree and Vukovic).
Aziz Behich, Mitch Langerak, Troisi and Williams return to the international arena after varying periods out of the squad as the Socceroos go into Matchday six and seven locked in a four-way battle for the two automatic spots at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“We’ve come up with a good strong squad that has a mix of experience, form and players who are playing regular football,” Postecoglou said. “I was pleased with the collective game time the squad got through over the weekend and come into camp playing well.
“We face two important games in five days and it’s good to welcome back some guys who have been out of the squad for different lengths of time for various reasons and I’m confident the group we’ve selected will be ready to hit the ground running.”
“There are a lot of important matches in what shapes as a crucial year for the team but the focus for us is simply Iraq on Thursday week and then the UAE in Sydney on March 28.”
The team will begin assembling in Tehran on Sunday ahead of next Thursday’s clash with Iraq. The seven players who have not made the final squad remain on standby for any last minute injuries this weekend.
Caltex Socceroos squad for 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers v Iraq and United Arab Emirates (UAE)
|Name||Club, Country||A International Caps (Goals)|
|Mustafa AMINI||Aarhus Gymnastikforening (AGF), DENMARK||–|
|Aziz BEHICH||Bursaspor, TURKEY||11 (2)|
|Tim CAHILL||Melbourne City FC, AUSTRALIA||94 (48)|
|Milos DEGENEK||Yokohama F Marinos, JAPAN||5 (0)|
|Rhyan GRANT||Sydney FC, AUSTRALIA||–|
|Jackson IRVINE||Burton Albion FC, ENGLAND||7 (0)|
|Mile JEDINAK||Aston Villa FC, ENGLAND||68 (15)|
|James JEGGO||SK Sturm Graz, AUSTRIA||–|
|Tomi JURIC||FC Luzern, SWITZERLAND||20 (4)|
|Robbie KRUSE||Liaoning Whowin FC, CHINA||48 (4)|
|Mitchell LANGERAK||VfB Stuttgart FC, GERMANY||6 (0)|
|Mathew LECKIE||FC Ingolstadt 04, GERMANY||37 (3)|
|Massimo LUONGO||Queens Park Rangers FC, ENGLAND||24 (5)|
|Riley McGREE||Adelaide United FC, AUSTRALIA||–|
|Mark MILLIGAN||Baniyas FC, UAE||53 (5)|
|Aaron MOOY||Huddersfield Town AFC, ENGLAND||21 (5)|
|Mathew RYAN||KRC Genk, BELGIUM||30 (0)|
|Trent SAINSBURY||FC Internazionale Milano, ITALY||21 (3)|
|Brad SMITH||AFC Bournemouth, ENGLAND||14 (0)|
|James TROISI||Melbourne Victory FC, AUSTRALIA||26 (4)|
|Daniel VUKOVIC||Sydney FC, AUSTRALIA||–|
|Rhys WILLIAMS||Perth Glory FC, AUSTRALIA||14 (0)|
|Bailey WRIGHT||Bristol City FC, ENGLAND||12 (1)|
2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers – MATCH DETAILS
Iraq v Caltex Socceroos Caltex Socceroos v United Arab Emirates
Thursday 23 March Tuesday 28 March 2016
PAS Stadium, Tehran (Iran) Sydney Football Stadium
Kick off 4.30pm (11pm AEDT) Kick off 8pm
Both matches will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports and the Nine Network.
TICKET DETAILS (Sydney match)
For more information regarding ticketing please visit www.socceroos.com.au/tickets
ROAD TO RUSSIA – QUALIFYING PATH
The Final Stage of Asian Football Confederation (AFC) World Cup Qualifying sees Australia placed into Group B alongside Japan, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Iraq and the UAE with the two top sides automatically qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The third-placed teams in both AFC Groups will then play each other (home and away) for the opportunity to face the fourth-placed team from CONCACAF (Central and Northern America) in a home and away series for the final place in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
FIFA World Cup Qualification: AFC Second Round – Group B Standings