Sydney: Australia’s national football team head coach on Monday announced his preliminary squad of players for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Bert Van Marwijk named six previously uncapped players in his 32-man squad, with all 26 who featured in the friendlies against Norway and Colombia in March retaining their places, reports Efe.
The former Dutch national team coach has selected youngsters Daniel Arzani and Fran Karacic, while recalling Jamie Maclaren, Mitchell Langerak, Alex Gersbach and Apostolos Giannou.
The squad also includes veteran Tim Cahill, who is hoping to become only the fourth ever player to feature in four World Cups, joining the likes of Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose.
“I am not a person who changes all the time and we thought for a long time about the first squad that we selected,” van Marwijk said at a press conference.
“I had a good experience with the 26 players in the 10 days that I worked with them, so I had no reason not to nominate them again. But we have since seen other players so there will be a few new names in the squad”, he added.
Van Marwijk, who led his country to the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, which they lost 0-1 to Spain, plans on trimming the preliminary 32-man squad to 25 on May 14, five days before flying out to Turkey for a training camp.
The Socceroos have two friendlies lined up ahead of the World Cup against the Czech Republic on June 2 and Hungary on June 9.
Australia are in Group C alongside one of the tournament favourites France, former European champions Denmark and Peru, who are making their first appearance at the World Cup since 1982.
Their World Cup campaign kicks off on June 16 in Kazan against France.