Australia coach Holger Osieck has stuck
with the core of players that gave the Socceroos a flying start
in their World Cup qualifying campaign as they seek to continue
their undefeated run against Middle Eastern minnow Oman next
The 19 players named in the squad on Tuesday for the October 11
qualifier at Sydney's Olympic stadium were all part of the
23-man group that eased Australia to victories over Thailand and
Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
The Socceroos lead Group D on six points, three points above
second-placed Thailand as they bid to qualify for their third
successive World Cup at the Brazil finals in 2014.
Oman, who have never beaten the Socceroos in three previous
attempts, are bottom of Group D behind Saudi Arabia.
German Osieck retained playmaker Tim Cahill in the squad for
the October 11 match against Oman at Sydney's Olympic Stadium,
despite the Everton midfielder suffering a leg injury in his
English Premier League match against Manchester City on
But there was no room for veteran midfielders Harry Kewell
and Brett Emerton, who have recently returned to Australia to
play in the domestic A-League after long careers based in
Osieck said the pair had not been considered due to a lack
of match fitness, brushing off media speculation that local
soccer administrators had leaned on the coach to allow them to
play in the struggling competition's season-opener in October.
Kewell and Emerton will face off for Melbourne Victory and
Sydney FC respectively in a blockbuster opener that falls three
days before the Oman match and a day after the Socceroos play a
friendly against Malaysia in Canberra.
"I decided to give [Emerton], again like Harry, the
opportunity to get settled in his new environment, and I don't
want to over-stress him and I think it's the best solution from
my point of view and I'm very comfortable with that," Osieck
told local reporters on Tuesday.
Osieck will pick his side for the Malaysia friendly from the
same 19-man squad.
Squad: Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, Adam Federici, Brett
Holman, Mile Jedinak, Josh Kennedy, Neil Kilkenny, Robbie Kruse,
Matt McKay, Lucas Neill, Sasa Ognenovski, Adam Sarota, Mark
Schwarzer, Matthew Spiranovic, James Troisi, Carl Valeri, Luke
Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo.
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