Socceroos name 20 overseas-based players for WCup qualifier
SYDNEY (AP) — Australia has named 20 overseas-based players in its squad for a World Cup qualifying match against Saudi Arabia on Nov. 11 in Sydney, the team’s first home game in more than two years due to COVID-19 travel and quarantine restrictions.
Tom Rogic will miss the match due to injury while fellow midfielder Aaron Mooy is also unavailable due to club commitments. Rogic is sidelined for three weeks after sustaining a hamstring strain while playing for Celtic and Mooy is in quarantine after being recalled to his Chinese club Shanghai Port.
Adam Taggart also is missing due to a knee injury.
The only uncapped player in the team named Friday by coach Graham Arnold was Gianni Stensness, formerly of the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners, who is now playing with Viking FK in Norway.
The match at Western Sydney Stadium in Parramatta comes after months of negotiations between Football Australia and the New South Wales government, as well as the Asian Football Confederation, which has allowed eligible players to join the team without undertaking severe quarantine restrictions.
The match will be played with 75% stadium capacity — about 22,000 spectators.
Due to the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Socceroos haven’t played in Australia since October 2019 when the team defeated Nepal 5-0 in Canberra in a World Cup qualifier.
Australia will play its second World Cup qualifying match of the international window against China on Nov. 16 in the United Arab Emirates.
Australia is in second place in Group B behind Saudi Arabia, which has won all four matches in this round. The Socceroos lost their perfect record with a 2-1 loss to Japan on Oct. 12.
Australia squad: Aziz Behich, Martin Boyle, Milos Degenek, Kenneth Dougall, Mitchell Duke, Callum Elder, Denis Genreau, Rhyan Grant, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, James Jeggo, Fran Karacic, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Riley McGree, Andrew Nabbout, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mathew Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Harry Souttar, Gianni Stensness, Lawrence Thomas, Danny Vukovic.
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