The Countdown Is On! Socceroos Preliminary Squad Named Weeks Out From World Cup
The Socceroos preliminary 26-man squad is announced, as they head into pre-World Cup training camp, hoping to make the cut and represent their nation on sport's biggest stage.
What you need to know
- Bert van Marwijk announces preliminary 26-man squad to head into pre-World Cup training camp
- Veteran Tim Cahill makes the cut, while new faces Daniel Azarni and Fran Karacic get their chance
- Ten Eyewitness News catches up with Jackson Irvine
Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has named his 26-man preliminary squad, set to head to the pre-World Cup training camp in Turkey this weekend.
But only 23 players will make the final cut, meaning heartbreak for three when the final squad is announced before June 4.
Two players who were part of van Marwijk's March friendlies against Colombia and Norway – Bailey Wright and Aleksandar Susnjar – were not included in the squad, making way for new faces Daniel Arzani and Fran Karacic.
Veteran Makes The Cut
Tim Cahill, Australia's leading goalscorer, will be pulling on the green and gold despite limited playing time this season, although FFA chief executive David Gallop denies his inclusion is a commercial decision.
"I say have a look at Tim Cahill's track record, he's a guy that has just produced for Australian football, for the Socceroos so many times, he did it against Syria, so I don't think anyone could knock the fact that he's going to be in the 26," he said.
"He's going to Turkey, he's got a few weeks of intense training, and he'll be right up there."
Who Are The New Guys?
Of the new faces, 21-year-old Fran Karacic is creating the biggest storm, after it was revealed the defender has never stepped foot in Australia.
He currently plays in Croatia's top flight, captaining Locamotiva Zagreb, and is eligible for the Socceroos through his father, who was born in Australia.
Van Marwijk hopes the inclusion of Karacic, who has represented Croatia at the under-21s level, will help plug a hole in the side's shaky defence.
Also in the team is Daniel Azarni, whose selection in the senior side comes off the back of a breakout season for Melbourne City in the A-League, winning Young Player of the Year for the 2017/18 season. Nineteen-year-old Arzani has represented Australia at junior levels since 2014.
"He’s a player that has something special, I like players who have something special and can decide games," van Marwijk said of last week's selection in the original preliminary 32.
"He’s very young, he has to learn a lot but at this moment he earns his spot in the 32."
Irvine Ready To Get Going
Ten Eyewitness News caught up with Jackson Irvine, as he shares his thoughts on the squad selection and World Cup Preparations.
Daniel Arzarni, Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Mathew Leckie, Andrew Nabbout, Dimi Petratos, Nikita Rukavytsya
Joshua Brillante, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi
Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Matthew Jurman, Fran Karacic, James Meredith, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury,
Brad Jones, Mathew Ryan, Danny Vukovic