Australia World Cup 2022 squad: Graham Arnold names final 26-man squad
The Australia World Cup 2022 squad was named in November ahead of the tournament in Qatar
The Australia World Cup 2022 squad has been revealed, with boss Graham Arnold featuring familiar names like Mat Ryan, Mathew Leckie and Aaron Mooy in his final 26-man team.
In recent times, Australia have made heavy weather of reaching the World Cup, so they had to defy diminishing expectations in qualifying for a fifth consecutive finals appearance by beating Peru on penalties in June.
In that context, and with the Socceroos’ ‘Golden Generation’ now long gone, qualification is the prize for Graham Arnold’s men and anything more in Qatar is a bonus – including a repeat of the Grey Wiggle dance with which shootout-specialist goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne secured their place.
If they're to succeed at the Qatar World Cup 2022, Australia will need to discover a way to stand up to the best. Australia became the first country in World Cup qualifying history to win 11 consecutive games in one campaign, but then they faced stronger sides and fell out of the automatic qualification spots with a single victory – at home to Vietnam – in seven matches. One point from four meetings with Saudi Arabia and Japan left the Socceroos needing mightily narrow play-off wins against the UAE and Peru to book their spot in Qatar; far tougher challenges await.
Indeed, Australia's group at the finals features two familiar opponents: Denmark and reigning champions France, both of whom they were drawn against in 2018.
They do have a grit with renowned ‘Aussie spirit’ instilled by Arnold that shone through in the play-offs, though. Captain Mat Ryan, the former Brighton goalkeeper, is a mature influence with Champions League and Europa League experience, while the ever-composed Aaron Mooy runs the midfield and Ajdin Hrustic offers a much-needed creative spark.
However, the Socceroos scored one goal across five qualifying matches against Japan, Saudi Arabia and Peru, underlining their inability to break down top sides now that there’s no Tim Cahill to rely upon for individual brilliance. At the back, conceding penalties to China and Oman showed great defensive naivety.
A win against Tunisia could set them up for reaching the knockouts, if they manage a result against either Denmark or France, but their lack of potency in attack will likely result in a winless campaign and early exit.
Australia World Cup 2022 squad
Australia World Cup 2022 squad: The final 26-man squad
- GK: Mat Ryan (Copenhagen)
- GK: Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC)
- GK: Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners)
- DF: Milos Degenek (Columbus Crew)
- DF: Fran Karacic (Brescia)
- DF: Nathaniel Atkinson (Hearts)
- DF: Bailey Wright (Sunderland)
- DF: Aziz Behich (Dundee United)
- DF: Kye Rowles (Hearts)
- DF: Harry Souttar (Stoke City)
- DF: Joel King (OB)
- DF: Thomas Deng (Albirex Niigata)
- MF: Ajdin Hrustic (Verona)
- MF: Aaron Mooy (Celtic)
- MF: Riley McGree (Middlesbrough)
- MF: Jackson Irvine (St. Pauli)
- MF: Keanu Baccus (St Mirren)
- MF: Cameron Devlin (Hearts)
- FW: Martin Boyle (Hibernian)
- FW: Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City)
- FW: Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City)
- FW: Awer Mabil (Cadiz)
- FW: Mitchell Duke (Fagiano Okayama)
- FW: Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United)
- FW: Jason Cummings (Central Coast Mariners)
- FW: Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners)
Australia top scorers
Australia top scorers
1 goal: Craig Goodwin
Australia yellow cards
Australia yellow cards
1 yellow card: Mitchell Duke, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy
Who is Australia's manager for the 2022 World Cup?
As Guus Hiddink’s assistant during Australia’s fine 2006 World Cup run to the last 16, Graham Arnold also served as caretaker coach for the failed 2007 Asian Cup campaign. He earned a second stint in 2018 after excellent spells with Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC, and took Australia to Qatar, though his stubborn pragmatism has its critics.
Australia's star player
Who is Australia's best player?
Ajdin Hrustic is a prodigiously talented attacking midfielder who helped Eintracht Frankfurt to win last season’s Europa League before making a deadline-day move to Hellas Verona. The 26-year-old has a wicked left foot as well as the skill to beat an opponent and create a chance, and he netted the crucial play-off winner against the UAE.
Australia World Cup 2022 squad: How many players are Australia allowed to take?
National managers were allowed to bring 26 players to last summer’s European Championship for the first time at a major tournament, as a special measure brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now 26-player squads have returned for the Qatar World Cup, an expansion from the usual 23-man teams.
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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.
By Conor Pope