Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has named a settled squad to face Kyrgyzstan in the opening 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Bishkek on June 16.
The squad includes no uncapped players and 19 members of the AFC Asian Cup winning team as Australia begins the quest for a fourth straight World Cup appearance.
Postecoglou declared this group of players as the “core of the squad that will take us through to the next World Cup”.
The 23-man squad will get together for a one week camp in Dubai before travelling to Bishkek to take on the 153rd ranked Kyrgyzstan in the opening match of the first stage of qualification.
Tim Cahill, Matthew Spiranovic and Eugene Galekovic return to the squad after missing the recent matches against Germany and FYR Macedonia with Aaron Mooy, Adam Federici and Luke Devere missing out.
“This is the start of the next chapter in our journey and we are all excited about what lies ahead over the next two years,” Postecoglou said.
“We’ve been open in our desire to make an impact at the 2018 World Cup but first we need to qualify and that task is immediately in front of us.
“We’ve selected a relatively settled squad made up of the core of players that brought success at the Asian Cup but also the core of players that will take us through to the next World Cup.
“Before we travel to Bishkek for the match against Kyrgyzstan we have a week long camp in Dubai and it is a good opportunity to work hard with the core group of players who have been exposed to international football and the style of football we want to play.
“We’ll work on building a strong base and then over the next two years we can expose more players to the squad as form and fitness warrants selection but those players will come into a settled unit when they get an opportunity.”
While not shying away from the long term goals, Postecoglou was acutely aware of the challenges facing the Socceroos as they enter unchartered territory for Australian football.
“No Australian football team has ever been to Kyrgyzstan so we have done a lot of research, including a reconnaissance trip to Bishkek, to make sure we are well prepared for what will not be an easy task,” Postecoglou said.
“We go to Bishkek with the utmost respect for Kyrgyzstan and we know that we will have to be at our best to get off to a winning start.”
The Australia v Kyrgyzstan match will be broadcast LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS 4 (channel 505) and on a one hour delay on SBS.
Socceroos squad for 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier v Kyrgyzstan
Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Mat Ryan (Club Brugge)
Defenders: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Jason Davidson (West Brom), Tarek Elrich (Adelaide United), Ivan Franjic (Unattached), Trent Sainsbury (PEC Zwolle), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Bailey Wright (Preston North End)
Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic (FC Luzern), Chris Ikonomidis (Lazio), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht)
Forwards: Nathan Burns (Wellington Phoenix), Tim Cahill (Shanghai Greenland Shenhua), Tomi Juric (Unattached), Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt), James Troisi (Zulte Waregem)
Socceroo Match Details
Kyrgyzstan v Australia
Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, Bishkek
Tuesday 16 June 2015
9pm kick off (1am AEST)
LIVE and exclusive on FOX SPORTS 4 (channel 505) and on a one hour delay on SBS.comments