Goal-scoring talisman Tim Cahill and Aston Villa’s Mile Jedinak headlined Australia’s squad named Tuesday for next month’s make-or-break two-legged World Cup play-off against Honduras.
Coach Ange Postecoglou has slimmed down his line-up from 30 to a final 25 players as the Socceroos look to make their fourth consecutive World Cup.
They face home-and-away clashes against the fourth-placed team from the CONCACAF federation for a spot at next year’s tournament in Russia.
The opening tie is in Honduras on November 10 with the return leg in Sydney five days later.
The experienced Jedinak leads the side after successfully returning from a groin injury for his club Aston Villa last weekend, having not played internationally since June.
Cahill, 37, who scored twice as Australia beat Syria to reach the intercontinental play-off, was also included, while Norway-based defender Alex Gersbach earned a recall.
Striker Mathew Leckie and midfielder Mark Milligan are suspended for the first leg but bolster the side for the return tie.
“It has been pleasing to see so many of our players performing strongly for their clubs domestically and abroad, and I believe that puts us in good stead for our upcoming playoff matches,” said Postecoglou.
“With two games in five days and extensive travel between the fixtures, every member of our squad will play an important role this November.
“We’ll be looking to get a positive result in San Pedro Sula, before aiming to seal a place at the 2018 World Cup in Russia in front of our home fans in Sydney.”
The Socceroos will assemble in San Pedro Sula from Sunday. Speculation is swirling over the future of Postecoglou, who has refused to confirm or deny reports that he is on the verge of stepping down.
Australia: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor/TUR), Tim Cahill (Melbourne City/AUS), Milos Degenek (Yokohama Marinos/JPN), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg/NOR), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam/NED), Jackson Irvine (Hull City/ENG), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa/ENG), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz/AUT), Tom Juric (Luzern/SWI), Matthew Jurman (Suwon/KOR), Robbie Kruse (Bochum/GER), Mitchell Langerak (Levante/ESP), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin/GER), Massimo Luongo (QPR/ENG), Ryan McGowan (Al Sharjah/UAE), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town/ENG), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney Wanderers/AUS), Tom Rogic (Celtic/SCO), Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa/ISR), Mat Ryan (Brighton/ENG), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning/CHN), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Danny Vukovic (Genk/BEL), Bailey Wright (Bristol City/ENG)