Australian National Football Team manager Ange Postecoglou has announced a provisional squad of 30 players for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, beginning on the 12th of June.
Breaking the news that team regular and former captain Lucas Neill would not be selected one week ago, Postecoglou has opted for a young, somewhat inexperienced outfit mixed with several notable regulars including New York Red Bulls star Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy and Mark Bresciano.
Likely to be offered the number 1 jersey for the 2014 World Cup, young Club Bruges sensation Mat Ryan has been joined by Borrusia Dortmund back-up Mitch Langerak, and A-League players Eugene Galekovic and Mark Birighitti as the four Goal Keeping choices, with one to be left at home upon a final squad of 23 announced on June 2nd.
In an area of the field regularly questioned, Postecoglou has opted to select several ‘green around the edges’ defenders; most notably through Dundee United youngster Curtis Good and unheralded Preston North End player Bailey Wright.
“I had some specific criteria; form, fitness and an eye for the future – and I think this squad reflects that” Postecoglou told the press immediately after the squad announcement.
“The majority of them have has strong seasons this year and I guess for a lot of them, hopefully they have similar fire in their belly to myself in wanting to prove themselves.”
Likely to be named captain of the World Cup squad after leading the Socceroos in a friendly against Equador on March 5th, Mile Jedinak has been included alongside such names as Bresciano, James Holland and Matt McKay, while Swindon Town youngster Massimo Luongo has also received the nod after a standout club season.
Arguably Australia’s most experienced and study line picked for the 2014 World Cup, leading goal scorer Tim Cahill and first team regular Josh Kennedy are close to certainties of making Postecoglou’s final 23, while Utrecht star Tommy Oar and up-and-coming talent Tom Rogic are set to fight it out with Matthew Leckie, Ben Halloran and Adam Taggart for remaining positions.
2014 Australian World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: Mathew Ryan (Club Bruges), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mark Birighitti (Newcastle Jets)
Defenders: Curtis Good (Dundee United), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow), Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors)
Midfielders: Joshua Brillante (Newcastle Jets), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Mark Bresciano (Al Gharafa, Qatar), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Adam Sarota (Utrecht), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), James Troisi (Atalanta), Massimo Luongo (Swindon)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus), Matthew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt 1899), Tommy Oar (Utrecht), Tomas Rogic (Celtic), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Duesseldorf), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets).