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Hrustic makes Australia squad for football World Cup qualifier


Sydney (AFP) – Dutch-based youngster Ajdin Hrustic was a surprise pick in Ange Postecoglou’s 30-man squad named Monday for Australia’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia followed by the Confederations Cup.

The 20-year-old Melbourne-born Groningen winger could make his debut in a squad that contains 24 overseas-based players and just six from the domestic A-League for the match at Adelaide Oval on June 8.

Postecoglou selected six uncapped players and a set of brothers in Ryan and Dylan McGowan among his core group of European-based stalwarts — Mile Jedinak, Tom Rogic, Aaron Mooy, Massimo Luongo and Mathew Leckie.

Former Everton star Tim Cahill, 37, and chasing a 97th cap, was also included.

The squad, which will be trimmed to 23 players on May 31, will also play a friendly with Brazil in Melbourne on June 13 before competing in the Confederations Cup in Russia, where the Socceroos face Germany, Cameroon and Chile in the group stage.

“I’m happy with the 30-man squad we have been able to name for the upcoming June international window but initially our energy and focus will be solely on the World Cup qualifier against Saudi Arabia in Adelaide,” Postecoglou said.

“It is the most important game we will play over the June period.

“The group is tight at the moment and Saudi Arabia will be a tough opponent, but we have always been strong on home soil and I see no reason why that won’t continue in front of our fans at Adelaide Oval.”

Japan and Saudi Arabia head Asia Group B on 16 points among the two automatic qualifying spots, three points ahead of Australia with three games remaining.

Australia – Mustafa Amini (Aarhus Gymnastikforening/DEN), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor/TUR), Mark Birighitti (Swansea City/ENG), Tim Cahill (Melbourne City/AUS), Milos Degenek (Yokohama Marinos/JPN), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg/NOR), Craig Goodwin (Sparta Rotterdam/NED), Rhyan Grant (Sydney FC/AUS), Ajdin Hrustic (Groningen/NED), Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion/ENG), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa/ENG), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz/AUT), Tomi Juric (Luzern/SUI), Robbie Kruse (uncontracted), Mitchell Langerak (Stuttgart/GER), Mathew Leckie (Ingolstadt/GER), Massimo Luongo (QPR/ENG), Jamie Maclaren (Darmstadt/GER), Dylan McGowan (Pacos de Ferreira/POR), Ryan McGowan (Guizhou Zhicheng/CHN), Riley McGree (Adelaide United/AUS), Mark Milligan (Baniyas/UAE), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town/ENG), Tom Rogic (Celtic/SCO), Mathew Ryan (Genk/BEL), Trent Sainsbury (Inter Milan/ITA), Brad Smith (Bournemouth/ENG), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Danny Vukovic (Sydney FC/AUS), Bailey Wright (Bristol City/ENG).

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