Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk has cut Australia’s World Cup squad from 32 to 26, with in-form striker Jamie Maclaren among those to miss out.
The reduced squad will travel to Turkey for a pre-tournament training camp before a friendly international against the Czech Republic in Austria on June 1.
Former Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar forward Maclaren is on loan from SV Darmstadt to Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League.
He has hit form at Hibs, scoring eight goals in 15 games including a hat-trick on the weekend in a 5-5 draw with Rangers, but it was not enough to keep him in the squad.
Speaking in Sydney, FFA chief executive David Gallop said it was a difficult time for any of those left out of the squad.
“Of course it’s disappointing,” he said. “He [Maclaren] has been scoring goals – but there’s only 26 spots in the squad, to be reduced to 23 for Russia.
“He’s a young guy, who knows? There’s another World Cup in four years and he may well be in calculations for that one.”
The others to miss out were Alex Gersbach, Apostolos Giannou, Mitch Langerak, Aleksandar Susnjar and Bailey Wright.
Veterans Tim Cahill and Mark Milligan remain in the squad and are still on track for their fourth World Cup finals, while five current A-League players including 19-year-old Daniel Arzani are still in the running for Russia.
“It is always a challenging task to reduce a squad, however this is the nature of professional sport at the highest level,” van Marwijk said in a statement.
“Overall, I believe we have named a strong and ambitious squad for our training camp in Turkey and friendly against Czech Republic in Austria.
“I am sure that in training in Antalya, and in our match against the Czech Republic, we will see players pushing to go to a higher level as they compete for a place in the final squad,” he said.
The squad will need to be cut again to 23 by June 4 to finalise the group that will go to Russia.
Squad: Daniel Arzani, Aziz Behich, Josh Brillante, Tim Cahill, Milos Degenek, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones (Gk), Tomi Juric, Matthew Jurman, Fran Karacic, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, James Meredith, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos, Josh Risdon, Tom Rogic, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mathew Ryan (Gk), Trent Sainsbury, James Troisi, Daniel Vukovic (Gk).
Coca-laced tea puts Peruvian skipper out of Cup
Meanwhile, the captain of one of the Socceroos’ group opponents, Peru, will miss the World Cup after his doping ban, which had just expired, was increased from six to 14 months, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) said.
Paolo Guerrero’s absence will be a significant blow for Peru, which has qualified for its first World Cup in 36 years and faces the Socceroos, Denmark and France in their first-round group.
He has scored 32 goals in 83 appearances and has a galvanising presence for his team.
Guerrero tested positive for cocaine following a World Cup qualifier in Argentina in October after drinking a tea containing the substance, CAS said.
It accepted that Peru’s all-time leading scorer did not intend to enhance his performance but said he was at fault, even if it not significantly.
The 34-year-old was initially banned for 12 months by FIFA, which was then reduced to six months on appeal. The suspension finished 10 days ago.
However, CAS partially accepted an appeal from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which had requested that the sanction be increased to between one and two years.
Guerrero, who has denied wrongdoing throughout, had also appealed to CAS to request the ban be annulled altogether.
Guerrero had played two games for his Brazilian club Flamengo, scoring in Sunday’s 3-2 defeat against Chapecoense in the Brazilian championship, between the end of his original ban and the CAS verdict on Monday.
Shortly before the decision, the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) had tweeted a pictures of Guerrero taking part in a photoshoot with the official team strip.
Source: ABC News