Soccer-Midfield duo return as Socceroos finalise playoffs squad – Metro US

Soccer-Midfield duo return as Socceroos finalise playoffs squad

AFC Asian Cup – Round of 16 – Australia v
AFC Asian Cup – Round of 16 – Australia v Uzbekistan

(Reuters) – Midfielders Tom Rogic and Aaron Mooy have been included in Australia’s 29-man squad for their World Cup playoff against the United Arab Emirates next month as Graham Arnold’s side aim to keep their hopes of a place in November’s finals in Qatar alive.

The nations face off in Doha on June 7 after finishing third in their respective groups in Asian qualifying, with the winner of the one-off clash set to take on Peru in an intercontinental eliminator on June 13 for a berth at the World Cup.

“We have selected a large squad for this window for a few reasons, but first and foremost because so many of our players have been in great form for their clubs over recent months,” said Arnold.

“Additionally, with several players set to enter the UAE match on yellow cards, we needed to ensure that we have cover in every area to ensure we’re not caught short at any time.”

Mooy and Rogic were both ruled out of March’s meetings with Japan and Saudi Arabia due to fitness issues and the Socceroos’ defeats in both games have left the nation needing to negotiate a way through the playoffs once more.

Guus Hiddink ended Australia’s 32-year World Cup absence with victory over Uruguay to qualify for the 2006 finals in Germany while 12 years later Ange Postecoglou’s side saw off Syria and Honduras to book a place in Russia.

“Our qualification journey for this year’s FIFA World Cup has been challenging, however the bigger the challenge, the greater the reward,” Arnold said.

“Just like in 2017 and 2005 I have full belief that our boys will emerge through the playoff system and seal Australia a place at the FIFA World Cup.”

Australia squad

Goalkeepers: Andrew Redmayne, Mathew Ryan, Danny Vukovic

Defenders: Nathaniel Atkinson, Aziz Behich, Jason Davidson, Milos Degenek, Fran Karacic, Joel King, Kye Rowles, Trent Sainsbury, Bailey Wright

Midfielders: Kenny Dougall, Denis Genreau, Craig Goodwin, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Riley McGree, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, Gianni Stensness, Marco Tilio

Forwards: Martin Boyle, Nicholas D’Agostino, Mitchell Duke, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Adam Taggart

(Reporting by Michael Church in Hong Kong, Editing by Sam Holmes)