Arzani, Karacic named in Socceroos' initial World Cup squad

Trent Sainsbury
Trent Sainsbury
Author

08 May, 2018

Veteran Tim Cahill and 19-year-old Daniel Arzani are in Australia's preliminary 32-man squad for next month's FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

Veteran Tim Cahill was included Monday in Bert van Marwijk's preliminary Australia squad for the World Cup, keeping him on track for a fourth appearance at the football showpiece.

Van Marwijk will cut the 32-man squad down to 26 or 27 players towards at the end of this week, who will head to a 20-day training camp in Turkey ahead of the World Cup.

The Dutchman named a 32-man squad, which will need to be cut to 23 by June 3, with highly-rated teenage striker Daniel Arzani included for the first time.

The 38-year-old Cahill is Australia's all-time leading scorer with 50 from 105 internationals, but he has struggled for form and match time in recent months. He's 38, maybe one of the best players for Australia ever.

Australia coach Bert van Marwijk has suggested that soccer take a lead from tennis on the use of technology in the game in the wake of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) debacle at the Australian championship game last weekend. "There are always players you are doubting a little bit, but there's also a lot of players who you're sure".

Arzani's stellar A-League season with Melbourne City has been rewarded while Karacic has been plucked from Croatia's first-division at NK Lokomotiva.

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The selection this morning doesn't guarantee the duo a World Cup spot.

Born and raised in Croatia, Karacic has never set foot in Australia but is eligible to play for the Socceroos because his father is Australian.

"He's a player that has something special, I like players who have something special and can decide games", Van Marwijk said of Arzani, on the Socceroos' official website.

Appointed in January for the whirlwind tenure before handing over to Graham Arnold, he hasn't had the luxury of scouting alternatives, though did spring a surprise by picking uncapped Croatia-based right-back Fran Karacic.

Having already played for Croatia's national under-21 side but not yet capped by the senior team, Van Marwijk made a decision to swoop.

"We don't have a lot of players who play that position. when somebody on the technical staff gives me the information about a player playing in Croatia who also has an Australian passport, then it can be an interesting player", he told a news conference.

Striker Jamie Maclaren's recent goal-scoring in Scotland with Hibernian earned him a recall with goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak, Alex Gersbach and Apostolos Giannou other additions.


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