Socceroos manager Graham Arnold has named a 25-man squad for the Socceroos third round World Cup Qualifiers against Oman and Japan.
Headlining the squad is Shanghai Port’s Aaron Mooy and Real Sociedad’s Mat Ryan while Chris Ikonomidis and Fran Karačić return to the squad after missing out on September’s matches against China and Vietnam.
Melbourne Victory recruit Ikonomidis joins Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant as the only Australian based Socceroos in the squad with Arnold citing ongoing hotel quarantine challenges as a barrier to A-League players being named.
Ikonomidis was seen as a much needed player for the squad and has committed to undergoing a quarantine process upon his return to Australia as Football Australia aim to organise a home quarantine period for the attacker instead of spending the time in a hotel.
“We’re quite short in that position at the moment (on the wings) with other players not being able to come (including the injured Brandon Borrello and the Australian-based Mathew Leckie),” said Arnold.
“When I spoke to Chrissy (Ikonomidis), he was in great shape and he’s been working hard at Melbourne Victory, he wasn’t in physical condition for the last camp but he’s chosen to be here and come to this camp and it’d be great if the government can help him when he comes back to Victoria.”
Fresh off a period in the United Kingdom where he watched some of the UK-based Aussies as well as a match at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium in London, Arnold has shed some light on the situation of Dinamo Zagreb’s Deni Jurić who is conflicted whether to commit to playing for Australia or Croatia.
“Deni is injured at the moment and I had him on the list to select him for this squad but he’s injured at the moment for four weeks with an ankle injury,” explained Arnold.
“In that four weeks, I think he’ll decide which nation he wants to play for.
“I hope and expect and really do expect that he does decide to play for the Socceroos.”
In order to make way for Ikonomidis and Karačić, four players were dropped from the last camp and the squad was reduced from 27 to 25 players. Paul Izzo, Ryan Strain and Bailey Wright were the unlucky players to miss out while Brad Smith was a forced exclusion due to contracting COVID-19.
“He tested positive only two days ago so he’s out of the squad for those reasons but you sit here everyday and players have to get tested so it’s quite stressful that even though you select a squad players come in and they have to wait for their results,” Arnold explained while reiterating the difficulties of selecting a squad in the COVID-19 environment.
Australia sit top of Group B heading into these qualifying matches but the games could prove crucial for Australia to remain undefeated in the group and to maintain their ranking of 32nd in the world.
Both games will be broadcast in Australia across Network Ten with the Oman match commencing in Doha on October 8 at 5:30 am (AEDT). The match against Japan will kick off in Saitama at 9:14 pm (AEDT) on October 12.
Socceroos 25-Player Squad | 4 – 12 October 2021 | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round)
|Name||Club, Country||‘A’ Caps (Goals)||Junior Club (Member Federation/Country)|
|Daniel ARZANI||Lommel SK, Belgium||6 (1)||Mascot Vipers Futsal Club (Football NSW)|
|Aziz BEHICH||Giresunspor, Turkey||43 (2)||Meadow Park SC (Football Victoria)|
|Martin BOYLE||Hibernian FC, Scotland||8 (4)||Lewis United FC/Montrose FC (Scotland)|
|Milos DEGENEK||Red Star Belgrade, Serbia||31 (1)||Blacktown City FC (Football NSW)|
|Kenneth DOUGALL||Blackpool FC, England||3 (0)||Samford Rangers FC (Football Queensland)|
|Mitchell DUKE||Fagiano Okayama, Japan||11 (5)||Liverpool Rangers SC (Football NSW)|
|Callum ELDER||Hull City AFC, England||1 (0)||Manly United FC (Football NSW)|
|Denis GENREAU||Toulouse FC, France||1 (0)||Brighton SC (Football Victoria)|
|Rhyan GRANT||Sydney FC, Australia||16 (1)||Canowindra Juniors/Bathurst 75 (Football NSW)|
|Ajdin HRUSTIC||Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany||9 (1)||Heatherton United SC (Football Victoria)|
|Jackson IRVINE||FC St. Pauli, Germany||39 (6)||Ringwood City SC (Football Victoria)|
|Chris IKONOMIDIS||Melbourne Victory, Australia||14 (2)||Cronulla RSL Stingrays FC (Football NSW)|
|James JEGGO||Aris Thessaloniki, Greece||7 (0)||Green Gully SC (Football Victoria)|
|Fran KARACIC||Brescia Calcio, Italy||3 (1)||NK Lokomotiva (Croatia)|
|Awer MABIL||FC Midtjylland, Denmark||19 (5)||Saint Augustines SC (Football South Australia)|
|Ryan MCGOWAN||Kuwait SC, Kuwait||21 (0)||Para Hills Knights SC (Football South Australia)|
|Riley MCGREE||Birmingham City FC, England||5 (0)||Gawler Eagles FC (Football South Australia)|
|Aaron MOOY||Shanghai Port FC, China PR||45 (6)||Carlingford Redbacks FC (Football NSW)|
|Tom ROGIC||Celtic FC, Scotland||49 (9)||Tuggeranong United FC (Capital Football)|
|Mathew RYAN (Gk)||Real Sociedad, Spain||63 (0)||Blacktown City FC (Football NSW)|
|Trent SAINSBURY||KV Kortrijk, Belgium||52 (3)||Armadale SC (Football West)|
|Harry SOUTTAR||Stoke City FC, England||7 (6)||Brechin City Boys Club (Scotland)|
|Adam TAGGART||Cerezo Osaka, Japan||14 (6)||ECU Joondalup SC (Football West)|
|Lawrence THOMAS (Gk)||SønderjyskE Fodbold, Denmark||1 (0)||Winston Hills Bears FC (Football NSW)|
|Danny VUKOVIC (Gk)||NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands||4 (0)||St Clair United SC (Football NSW)|
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round)
Matchday 3: Australia v Oman
Date: Thursday, 7 October 2021
Venue: Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Kick-off: 9.30pm local (5.30am AEDT – Friday, 8 October 2021)
Broadcast: Live and free in Australia on 10 and 10 Play – pre-game coverage from 5am AEDT
Matchday 4: Japan v Australia
Date: Tuesday, 12 October 2021
Venue: Saitama Stadium, Saitama, Japan
Kick-off: 7.14pm local (9.14pm AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and free in Australia on 10 Bold and 10 Play – pre-game coverage from 8.30pm AEDT
Image Credit: Football Australia