2018 World Cup: Australia name squad for Thailand, UAE face Iraq in Abu Dhabi
Australia manager Ange Postecoglou has named two uncapped midfielders and a handful of A-League players in an extended squad for their World Cup qualifier against Thailand, where cheering has been banned.
There was uncertainty about whether the game would go ahead after the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with fans advised to wear white, black or grey clothing. They are blocked from any activities “that are considered joyful”.
Postecoglou said the match in Bangkok on November 15 was vital for Australia, who are second in a tight group behind Saudi Arabia. Japan are third. The UAE are in fourth, one point behind Japan.
More from 2018 World Cup qualifying:
• Ahmed Khalil: UAE ‘will fight for every point’ to reach World Cup
• UAE v Saudi Arabia takeaways: Changes to make, funks to shake
• Jhn McAuley: UAE hopes take serious dent in defeat to Saudi Arabia
He added that the inclusion of five domestic-based players in the 30-man squad, which will be trimmed after this weekend’s A-League games, reflected the depth of the team.
“It is yet another good sign of the depth we are creating and when we announce the team after this weekend there will be players who miss out that are playing well enough to be part of the squad,” Postecoglou said.
Australia have so far contested its qualifiers with foreign-based players apart from veteran Tim Cahill, who now plays with Melbourne City after 18 years overseas.
Aside from Cahill, the other four A-League players are the uncapped Luke Brattan of Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory’s Jason Geria, Josh Risdon of Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar’s Tommy Oar.
Uncapped Austrian-based midfielder James Jeggo is also included.
Victory, which is expected against a Thailand side yet to register a single point from four qualifiers, will keep Australia in control of their own destiny.
Japan host group leaders Saudi Arabia on the same day, and with points set to be dropped, the UAE will need to ensure victory against Iraq to stay within touching distance of the qualification places.
After the perfect start to qualifying with an unexpected 2-1 win in Japan, defeats to Australia at home and Saudi Arabia away — either side of a home win against Thailand — mean the UAE’s World Cup fate is currently out of their control. However, three points on November 15 against Iraq will keep Mahdi Ali’s side in contention at the halfway stage of the qualifying group.
Australia squad: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor/TUR), Luke Brattan (Melbourne City/AUS), Nathan Burns (F.C. Tokyo/JPN), Tim Cahill (Melbourne City/AUS), Milos Degenek (1860 Munchen/GER), Adam Federici (Bournemouth/ENG), Jason Geria (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg/NOR), Apostolos Giannou (Guangzhou R&F/CHN), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam/NED), Chris Ikonomidis (Aarhus Gymnastikforening/DEN), Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion/ENG), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa/ENG), James Jeggo (SK Sturm Graz/AUT), Tomi Juric (FC Luzern/SUI), Robbie Kruse (Bayer Leverkusen/GER), Mitchell Langerak (Vfb Stuttgart/GER), Mathew Leckie (FC Ingolstadt/GER), Massimo Luongo (Queens Park Rangers/ENG), Ryan McGowan (Henan Jianye/CHN), Mark Milligan (Baniyas/UAE), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town/ENG), Tommy Oar (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Josh Risdon (Perth Glory/AUS), Tommy Rogic (Celtic/SCO), Mathew Ryan (Valencia/ESP), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning/CHN), Brad Smith (Bournemouth/ENG), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown/CHN), Bailey Wright (Preston North End/ENG)
Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE
Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport
Updated: October 26, 2016 04:00 AM