Penpix of Australia squad
Mark Schwarzer (Fulham). Goalkeeper. Born Oct. 6 1972. Caps 73. Goals 0.
Australia's first-choice keeper and most capped player shows few signs of slowing down. The former Middlesbrough man was named Australia's player of the year in 2009 after keeping a clean sheet in seven of their last eight World Cup qualifiers and has maintained the solid form at Fulham this season.
Adam Federici (Reading). Goalkeeper. Born Jan. 31 1985. Caps: 0.
Groomed as an eventual replacement for Socceroos stalwart Schwarzer, Federici has performed strongly for Reading.
Brad Jones (Middlesbrough). Goalkeeper. Born March 19 1982. Caps 1. Goals 0.
Tall and agile, he is the regular understudy to Schwarzer and unlikely to challenge for the starting role in South Africa. Missed the start of the last English season with injury and had to battle back into contention.
Lucas Neill (Galatasaray). Defender. Born March 9 1978. Caps 53. Goals 0.
The former Blackburn, West Ham and Everton defender marshalled Australia's defence well at the 2006 finals in Germany but is still haunted by the controversial last-minute penalty he conceded that allowed Italy to win their second-round match. A versatile defender who can also link well in attack, his highly physical game can nullify the world's best forwards.
Craig Moore (unattached). Defender. Born Dec. 12 1975. Caps 40. Goals 3
The former Rangers defender retired from international duty in 2008 but returned to help steer Australia through the qualifiers. His lack of speed and match practice since leaving Kavala in the Greek league earlier this year are likely to be overlooked for the composure he brings to the defence.
Scott Chipperfield (Basel). Born Dec. 30 1975. Caps 63. Goals 12
The naturally left-sided player has been a fixture in the Socceroos starting side since his debut against Fiji in 1998. At 34, his ability to keep pace with the world's most nimble attackers is likely to come under scrutiny.
David Carney (Twente Enschede). Defender. Born Nov. 30 1983. Caps 23. Goals 3.
Formerly on Sheffield United's roster, Carney is likely to get the nod as a first-change midfielder and bolstered his prospects with goals last year against Bahrain in Australia's Asian qualification and against Ireland in a friendly.
Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow). Defender. Born Oct. 2 1981. Caps 40. Goals 2.
A Guus Hiddink protege, the former Middlesbrough and Bristol City defender was blooded in the Socceroos' opener against Japan at the 2006 finals. A hard runner equally adept at central midfield or on the right side of defence, Wilkshire has also proved capable of causing headaches in attack and scored his first international goals in recent Asian Cup qualifiers.
Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough). Defender. Born July 14 1988. Caps 3. Goals 0.
Tall, highly-rated youngster who turned down Wales to play for country of his birth and was rewarded with a call-up last year. Slots in well at left back or central defence.
Shane Lowry (Aston Villa). Defender. Born June 12 1989. Caps 0.
A bulky, highly-fancied defender, Lowry played youth internationals for Ireland but elected to pursue a career with the Socceroos after overtures from Verbeek and Australian soccer officials. Is an outside chance to make the final 23.
Mark Milligan (JEF United). Defender. Born Aug. 4 1985. Caps: 9. Goals: 1
A squad member at the 2006 World Cup, Japan-based Milligan has pressed his claims for a South African berth during the Asian Cup qualifiers and should be picked as a back-up to central defenders Neill and Moore.
Jade North (Tromso). Defender. Born Jan. 7 1982. Caps 28. Goals 0.
Predominantly a right-sided fullback though is versatile enough to play across the defence. Has prospered under the defensive minded Verbeek and always produces on his international appearances.
Michael Beauchamp (Al-Jazira). Defender. Born March 8 1981. Caps 19. Goals 1.
One of only two domestically based players chosen for the 2006 World Cup squad, the tall and strong central defender has come in from the international wilderness after bouncing around European leagues and suffering a lack of playing time for his club in the Middle East. Will return to new A-League side Melbourne Heart after the World Cup.
Tim Cahill (Everton). Midfielder. Born Dec. 6 1979. Caps 37. Goals 19.
Although Cahill lacks the power and speed of the world's top forwards, he makes up for his deficiencies with an uncanny ability to slip minders near the box and use his head to score. Was Australia's first World Cup goal scorer with a match-winning brace against Japan during the group stage in 2006. Has made 200 starts for Premier League Everton and this week extended his contract with them to 2014.
Mark Bresciano (Palermo). Midfielder. Born Feb. 11 1980. Caps: 52. Goals: 11
Explosive and versatile midfielder who has carved out a successful career in Italy's Serie A but has a point to prove in South Africa after failing to live up to expectations in Germany in 2006. Was out of action following surgery on a back injury earlier this year.
Vince Grella (Blackburn). Midfielder. Born Oct. 5 1979. Caps 42. Goals 0.
Has endured a run of injuries that have limited his playing time in the Premier League this season but will be counted on to recover and close down opposing teams' most dangerous attackers. Spent five years in Italy's Serie A.
Brett Emerton (Blackburn). Midfielder. Born Feb. 22 1979. Caps: 72. Goals: 17
Possibly Australia's fittest player, Emerton has been a regular in the national side since the mid-1990s, playing most of his career on the right wing or in centre midfield. Has lately spent time in defence with long-time club Blackburn. Quick, aggressive and occasionally undisciplined.
Jason Culina (Gold Coast United). Midfielder. Born Aug. 5 1980. Caps: 45. Goals: 1
A 2006 World Cup team member, Culina returned to Australia's top flight last year after a decade in Europe. Went back to PSV Eindhoven on a training-only deal in a bid to draw Verbeek's interest before South Africa.
Harry Kewell (Galatasaray). Midfielder. Born Sept. 22 1978. Caps: 45. Goals: 13
Despite fitness concerns, the injury-prone former Leeds and Liverpool winger remains central to Verbeek's goal-scoring plans, particularly in the absence of forward linchpin Mark Viduka. If able to recover from a troubling groin injury that ruled him out of much of the Turkish season, the fleet-footed Kewell should create headaches for defenders with his incisive passing and dash down the wings.
Brett Holman (AZ Alkmaar). Midfielder. Born March 27 1984. Caps: 29. Goals: 1.
Pacy and hard running, Holman has failed to transfer the talent that propelled him into the Dutch top flight on to the international stage, despite ample opportunities. Verbeek is likely to keep the faith, although his selection for South Africa would prove mystifying for many Australian fans.
Carl Valeri (Sassuolo). Midfielder. Born Aug. 14 1984. Caps 19. Goals 0.
Talented defensive midfielder who has struggled to break into Italy's top flight after years of toiling in lower leagues, but is rated a future long-term Socceroo.
Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor). Midfielder. Born Aug. 3 1984. Caps 9. Goals 0.
Tall, rangy former under-20 World Cup player, Turkey-based Jedinak has enjoyed strong form on loan to Antalyaspor.
Richard Garcia (Hull City). Midfielder. Born Sept. 4 1981. Caps: 5. Goals 0.
Attacking midfielder whose switch to Hull from Colchester proved to be a masterstroke as the northern club swiftly won promotion to the Premier League in 2008. Used sparingly by Verbeek but likely to get the nod for South Africa.
Nick Carle (Crystal Palace). Midfielder. Born Nov. 23 1981. Caps: 12. Goals 0.
A highly-skilled midfielder, the diminutive Carle plied his trade in Turkey and England after proving himself in Australia's top flight, but has struggled to impose himself during international duty. Likely to be an impact player off the bench if named to the final squad.
Tommy Oar (Utrecht). Midfielder. Born Dec. 10 1991. Caps 1. Goal 0.
Talented teenager who impressed with his composure on the left wing in his national debut against Indonesia in an Asian Cup qualifier in March. Young player of the year in Australia's A-league. Local media have dubbed Oar the "next Harry Kewell".
Dario Vidosic (Nuremberg). Midfielder. Born April 8 1987. Caps 4. Goals 0.
Highly talented midfielder who is also comfortable as a striker, Croatia-born and German-based Vidosic is a likely understudy to Cahill and Kewell in South Africa.
James Holland (AZ Alkmaar). Midfielder. Born May 15 1989. Caps 4. Goals 0.
Former under-17 and under-20 player who made his senior debut against Singapore in 2008. Signed for Dutch Side Alkmaar last year.
Josh Kennedy (Nagoya). Forward. Born Aug. 20 1982. Caps 17. Goals 6
The long-haired beanpole striker nicknamed "Jesus" was plucked from obscurity by then-coach Hiddink at the 2006 finals in Germany and is now under pressure to perform in Mark Viduka's lone striker role. His strong leap and height can trouble defenders around the box and he has found goal-scoring form since crossing to the J-League after a miserable stint at German club Karlsruhe.
Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough). Forward. Born Aug. 21 1983. Caps 15. Goals 0.
A prolific striker in a successful three-year stint with Scotland's Celtic, McDonald has failed to replicate the form at national level. Has fallen out of favour with Verbeek after 15 appearances without netting a goal, but may be thrown a lifeline for the finals.
Nikita Rukavytsya (Twente Enschede). Forward. Born June 22 1987. Caps 2. Goals 0.
A pacy striker highly rated by Verbeek, Ukraine-born Rukavytsya quickly made a big impression after joining Perth Glory in Australia's top flight and was rewarded with a transfer to Dutch club Twente. Has been in good form on loan to Belgian side KSV Roeselare and may be used as a substitute if Kennedy and Kewell fail to fire in front of goal.
(Compiled by Ian Ransom; Editing by Clare Fallon; To query or comment on this story email email@example.com)