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Five new Socceroo faces for crunch World Cup clashes


Sydney (AFP) – Australia called up five uncapped players and welcomed back captain Mile Jedinak from injury in a 30-man squad named Tuesday for crucial World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.

The Australians will face Japan in Saitama at the end of this month before returning to Melbourne to play Thailand on September 5 in their final group match.

The squad includes 22 players who went to the Confederations Cup in Russia, alongside newcomers Matthew Jurman, James Jeggo, Awer Mabil, Riley McGree and Danny Vukovic.

“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,” coach Ange Postecoglou said.

“There are a few new faces as well to have a look at, but overall pretty pleased with the shape we are in.”

Postecoglou said he expected the August 31 game against Japan, who currently top their Group B table with 17 points, to be a “great challenge”.

“We are looking forward to going over there and hopefully getting three points which will put us in great shape for qualification,” he added.

Unbeaten Australia are third on the table with 16 points, behind Saudi Arabia on goal difference and one spot outside the automatic qualifying spots for the World Cup in Russia next year.

But a win over the Blue Samurai could prove pivotal, with Japan due to face Saudi Arabia in Jeddah in its last group game.

Australia: Mustafa Amini (Aarhus Gymnastikforening/DEN), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor/TUR), Tim Cahill (Melbourne City/AUS), Milos Degenek (Yokohama Marinos/JPN), Adam Federici (Bournemouth/ENG), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg/NOR), Ajdin Hrustic (Groningen/NED), Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion/ENG), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa/ENG), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz/AUT), Tomi Juric (Luzern/SUI), Matthew Jurman (Suwon Samsung Bluewings/KOR), Robbie Kruse (Bochum/GER), Mitchell Langerak (Stuttgart/GER), Mathew Leckie (Hertha BSC/GER), Massimo Luongo (QPR/ENG), Awer Mabil (Paços De Ferreira/POR), Jamie Maclaren (Darmstadt/GER), Ryan McGowan (Guizhou Zhicheng/CHN), Riley McGree (Club Brugge/BEL), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town/ENG), Tom Rogic (Celtic/SCO), Mathew Ryan (Brighton & Hove Albion/ENG), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning/CHN), Brad Smith (Bournemouth/ENG), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown/CHN), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Daniel Vukovic (Genk/BEL), Bailey Wright (Bristol City/ENG).

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