Brosque bags call-up for Australia qualifier

SINGAPORE - Australia coach Pim Verbeek has handed Sydney FC striker Alex Brosque a surprise call up for Saturday's key Asian Cup qualifier against Oman after injury robbed him of first choice Josh Kennedy.

Brosque, 26, who won the last of his four caps three years ago, was selected after Nagoya Grampus striker Kennedy was forced to withdraw from the squad with a back injury.

"It was totally unexpected but I can't wait to get over to Oman and join the rest of the team," Brosque told the Australian Associated Press.

"It (being selected) is something I haven't been thinking about ... I've just been trying to concentrate on playing well and consistently with Sydney FC."

Australia have struggled for goals in the competition with Everton midfielder Tim Cahill scoring their sole effort in last month's 1-0 home win against Oman in Melbourne.

That win followed a surprise 1-0 home loss to Kuwait and a goalless draw with Indonesia in which Australia fielded only domestic league players.

Despite their scoring woes the Socceroos lead Group B, on four points after three matches, courtesy of a better head-to-head over Oman.

Kuwait and Indonesia, having played a game less, are on three and two points respectively with the top two sides from each group qualifying for the 2011 finals in Qatar.


In other qualifiers, three-times champions Iran should prove too strong for Group E's bottom side Jordan in Tehran, while the other group match sees former England captain Bryan Robson in charge of Thailand for their visit to Singapore.

Iran lead the way after two matches on four points with Singapore second on three, followed by Thailand (2) and Jordan (1).

Syria will be expecting to make it three wins from three when they travel to Vietnam in Group D and Uzbekistan will also be confident of maintaining their 100 percent start at home to Malaysia in Group C.

Asian Cup holders Iraq, runners-up Saudi Arabia and third place South Korea have already qualified for the 2011 edition along with India, who booked their place courtesy of victory in last year's AFC Challenge Cup.