SYDNEY - Australia coach Holger Osieck has
decided to rest Tim Cahill for two friendlies next month to give
the attacking midfielder a chance to recover fully from a
niggling foot injury in time for the World Cup qualifiers.
Cahill was left out of the 23-man squad named on Tuesday for
the clashes with New Zealand in Adelaide on June 5 and Serbia in
Melbourne two days later along with fellow marquee players Harry
Kewell and Mark Schwarzer.
"Looking back to our (Asian Cup) campaign in Qatar, he
carried a very niggling injury over the tournament which carried
on with Everton," the German told a news conference on Tuesday.
"I already told him in March that I would not consider him
for these games, I think it's more important for him to have a
good rest, to have treatment and to fully recover because we
need him for the qualifiers."
The Socceroos will open their campaign to reach a third
successive World Cup finals in Brazil in 2014 in the third round
of Asian qualifying in early September.
While 38-year-old Fulham goalkeeper Schwarzer misses out
because of a groin injury, attacker Kewell was omitted after
being substituted at halftime during his recent return from
injury for Turkish club Galatasaray.
"I had the feeling that he was not very comfortable about
his performance level," said Osieck. "So I said 'don't worry, I
won't call you up, I don't want to get you into any kind of
Kewell's club mate Lucas Neill was named as captain despite
a groin problem but might not play both matches, Osieck said.
"He's very committed to the Socceroos and to Australia and
he desperately wanted to be in the group," the former Germany
assistant coach said.
"I know he has made great progress in rehab and his presence
in the group is very important for the boys. If he's in the
position to play two full games remains to be seen."
Australia are 20th in the FIFA world rankings and Osieck's
nine months in charge have taken in an appearance in the final
of the Asian Cup in January and a 2-1 victory over Germany in
their last outing.
Although the Socceroos have played regular games against New
Zealand since 1922, they have met Serbia just once in the group
stage of last year's World Cup, where they ran out 2-1 winners.
Osieck conceded that Serbia might rest the likes of
Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic after a long European
season but they should not be taken lightly.
"It definitely cannot be considered a second string team,"
he said. "My firm conviction is that whenever anyone gets
invited to the national team, he must be good enough to play
The party includes three players from the domestic A-League
with Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak the only
member of the squad yet to make his international debut.
Goalkeepers: Nathan Coe (Sonderjysk), Adam Federici
(Reading), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund).
Defenders: Lucas Neill (Galatasaray), Michael Zullo
(Utrecht), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow), Sasa Ognenovski
(Seongnam Ilhwa), Jon McKain (Al Nassr), Matthew Spiranovic
(Urawa Reds), Mark Milligan (JEF United).
Midfielders: Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers), Brett Holman
(AZ Alkmaar), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo), Mile Jedinak
(Genlerbirlii), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Neil Kilkenny (Leeds
United), James Troisi (Kayserispor), Dario Vidosic (Arminia
Forwards: Robbie Kruse (Melbourne Victory), Josh Kennedy
(Nagoya Grampus), Alex Brosque (Shimizu Pulse), Archie Thompson
(Melbourne Victory), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough).
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