Sydney: Australia Head Coach Ange Postecoglou has named a 30-player squad for the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.
The latest Australia squad includes 22 players that competed at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and also welcomes back Mile Jedinak and Brad Smith who missed the Russian tournament due to injury.
Matthew Jurman receives his first call-up to the squad and will be looking to make his debut along with James Jeggo, Awer Mabil, Riley McGree and Danny Vukovic.
Postecoglou is comfortable that the 30-players that he has named will be ready for the challenges that await in the final two group matches.
Australia are third on 16 points in Group B with Saudi Arabia having the same number of points but are ahead on goal difference. Japan are top of the group with 17 points.
Saudi Arabia play the United Arab Emirates away on August 29 before entertaining Japan on September 5.
“We haven’t strayed too far from the players who went to the Confederations Cup and who we have had on the radar for a while, so not a great deal of change at this stage,” said Postecoglou.
“There are a few new faces as well to have a look at, but overall pretty pleased with the shape we are in.”
In relation to the first fixture against Japan at Saitama Stadium, Postecoglou was optimistic about the encounter that awaits.
“It is going to be a great challenge playing away from home against one of the top nations but that’s what we like to embrace as a team.
“We are looking forward to going over there and hopefully getting three points which will put us in great shape for qualification.
When asked about the final group match against Thailand in Melbourne, Postecoglou knows that a large vocal home crowd will have a positive effect on the playing group.
“Wherever we have played away from home in this group there have been large crowds to support the home team which definitely makes a difference and we want the same in Melbourne.
“I know the players look forward to it. There is nothing better than playing on home soil, in front of a big crowd and hopefully getting a good win,” concluded Postecoglou.
The squad will be trimmed to 23 players on August 23 and the players will begin to assemble in Tokyo from August 27.
CLICK HERE FOR THE 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA ASIAN QUALIFIERS RESULTS, STANDINGS & FIXTURES
Photo: Football Federation Australia