Schwarzer to lead Aussies in WCup qualifier v Oman

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Veteran Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer will take over as Australia captain for the World Cup qualifier against Oman later this month due to the enforced absence of Lucas Neill.

Head coach Holger Osieck named a 23-man squad Wednesday featuring 17 overseas-based players and six from the domestic A-League.

New York Red Bulls recruit Tim Cahill, formerly with Everton, is among four overseas-based players recalled for the March 26 match in Sydney after missing last month's friendly against Romania.

Also returning are Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht) and Tom Rogic (Celtic).

Neill and midfielder Carl Valeri are unavailable after accumulating too many yellow cards in recent internationals, leaving a gap in central defense that Osieck needs to plug.

He nominated Jedinak and Vienna-based James Holland as possibilities to replace Neill at the back. Schwarzer, who has played 104 matches for Australia and was the Socceroos' starting `keeper in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, was a logical choice as replacement captain.

The Socceroos are second with five points in Group B in the final round of Asian qualifying for Brazil 2014, eight points behind Japan and only marginally ahead of Iraq and Oman on goal difference.

Osieck has described the Oman match as a must-win game, particularly after the 0-0 draw at Muscat at the start of the campaign.

''It is crucial. It is decisive and we can't jeopardize anything,'' Osieck said. ''We have to go full speed. We have to win it.''

The top two teams in each of Asian Groups A and B qualify directly for Brazil 2014, with the two third-place teams playing off to determine which advances to a final intercontinental qualifier.


Australia squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, Robert Cornthwaite, Dino Djulbic, Eugene Galekovic, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Ryan McGowan, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Mathew Ryan, Mark Schwarzer, Archie Thompson, Michael Thwaite, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo.

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