Six men woke this morning to find out they won't be on a flight to Antalya in Turkey to take part in a three-week training camp ahead of the World Cup in Russia. They are Alex Gersbach, Apostolos Giannou, Mitch Langerak, Jamie Maclaren, Aleksandr Susnjar and Bailey Wright.

Maclaren's omission from the 26-man shorter long list of Bert van Marwijk for #Russia2018 was widely expected, despite his fine form in the Scottish Premier League, as he had informed journalists himself yesterday. Wright's omission is a blow for the Bristol City captain, but the writing was on the wall for him after he was tried at right back in the match v Norway and didn't fit in comfortably to the role. Langerak is unlucky. The 29-year-old from Emerald in central Queensland has played for Melbourne Victory, Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart and now Nagoya Grampus, but has always been the 'bridesmaid' in the goalkeeper stakes for Australia. He lost his position this time due to van Marwijk being more familiar with, and favouring, Brad Jones who plays with Feyenoord. 

Amongst those heading to Turkey are two uncapped players: 19-year-old Daniel Arzani from Melbourne City, and 22-year-old captain of Croatia's NK Lokomotiva, Fran Karacic, who has never been to Australia. Between the other 24 players, they have played 704 games for Australia. 

Tim Cahill and Mark Milligan remain on track to attend their fourth successive World Cup each, with another record awaiting Cahill if he does make it - that is, scoring in a fourth successive World Cup. 

Van Marwijk said he feels he will have a balanced and eager group of professionals to work with in Turkey for the training camp, which also includes warm-up games against Czehia (Czech Republic) on 1 June and Hungary on 9 June.

“It is always a challenging task to reduce a squad, however this is the nature of professional sport at the highest level. 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 final squad must be named on 3 June, giving players an opportunity to press their claims one last time in the international friendly against Czehia. No more than 23 players can be named, including three goalkeepers. 

NameClubGames (Goals)
Daniel ArzaniMelbourne City0 (0)
Aziz BehichBursaspor, Turkey21 (2)
Josh BrillanteSydney FC5 (0)
Tim CahillMillwall, England105 (50)
Milos DegenekYokohama Marinos, Japan17 (0)
Jackson IrvineHull City, England17 (2)
Mile JedinakAston Villa, England75 (18)
Brad JonesFeyenoord, Netherands5 (0)
Tomi JuricFC Luzern, Switzerland34 (8)
Matthew JurmanSuwon Bluewings, South Korea4 (0)
Fran KaracicNK Lokomotiva, Croatia0 (0)
Robbie KruseVfL Bochum, Germany62 (5)
Mathew LeckieHertha Berlin, Germany51 (6)
Massimo LuongoQueens Park Rangers, England34 (5)
James MeredithMillwall, England2 (0)
Mark MilliganAl Ahli, Saudi Arabia66 (6)
Aaron MooyHuddersfield, England32 (5)
Andrew NabboutUrawa Red Diamonds, Japan2 (0)
Dimitri PetratosNewcastle Jets1 (0)
Josh RisdonWestern Sydney Wanderers6 (0)
Tom RogicCeltic, Scotland35 (7)
Nikita RukavytsyaMaccabi Haifa, Israel18 (1)
Mathew RyanBrighton and Hove Albion, England42 (0)
Trent SainsburyGrasshopper Club Zurich, Switzerland33 (3)
James TroisiMelbourne Victory37 (5)
Daniel VukovicKRC Genk, Belgium1 (0)

As an aside, the question must be asked why did we have a 32-man longer long list last week, to reduce it to 26 men this week? We noticed one journalist suggested the answer was “publicity, it gives FFA another hit” - but surely, there is more creativity within FFA in terms of publicity around the Socceroos fourth successive World Cup than having to play with the emotions, hopes and expectations of players - just for a bit of a PR sugar hit?

Want to know even more about the Socceroos? Order the Encyclopedia of Socceroos by Andrew Howe, a 376-page, 200,000 word magnificent volume on every man who's pulled on the green-and-gold for Australia. PLUS, order the special digital-only World Cup Edition of the Encyclopedia for just $9.99. All from Fair Play Publishing.

Categories: News | Socceroos | World Cup

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