SYDNEY (AP) Australia coach Ange Postecoglou has cut injured captain Mile Jedinak from his squad for crucial World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.
Postecoglou on Wednesday trimmed Jedinak, Riley McGree, Matthew Jurman and Adam Federici from his extended squad, as well as Confederations Cup players Aziz Behich, Ajdin Hrustic and Jimmy Jeggo.
Aston Villa’s Jedinak didn’t play in the Confederations Cup in Russia because of a recurring groin injury, and is questionable for Villa in two matches this week.
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Postecoglou couldn’t gamble on Jedinak’s fitness with Australia needing at least four points from matches in Saitama, Japan on Aug. 31 and Thailand at home on Sept. 5 to have a chance of securing an automatic spot for Russia 2018.
”Throughout this qualification campaign we have looked to evolve and improve from match to match,” Postecoglou said. ”I believe that the players that we have named today are ready for these two very important matches.”
The Socceroos are in third place in their Asian qualifying group with 16 points, equal with Saudi Arabia and one point behind Japan.
The leading two teams from two Asian qualifying groups qualify directly for Russia next year. The third-place teams in each group enter a two-leg playoff for the right to play the fourth-place CONCACAF team in the final qualifying round.
Australia squad (clubs in parenthesis):
Goalkeepers: Mitchell Langerak (Stuttgart, Germany), Mathew Ryan (Brighton, England), Daniel Vukovic (Genk, Belgium).
Defenders: Milos Degenek (Yokohama Marinos, Japan), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg, Norway), Ryan McGowan (Al Sharjah, UAE), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning, China), Brad Smith (Bournemouth, England), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou, China), Bailey Wright (Bristol City, England).
Midfield: Mustafa Amini (AGF, Denmark), Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion, England), Massimo Luongo (QPR, England), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town, England), Tom Rogic (Celtic, Scotland), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory).
Forwards: Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Tomi Juric (Luzern, Switzerland), Robbie Kruse (Bochum, Germany), Mathew Leckie (Hertha, Germany), Awer Mabil (Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal), Jamie Maclaren (Darmstadt, Germany).