Mile Jedinak, left, has not recovered from a groin injury.
Mile Jedinak, left, has not recovered from a groin injury. Andy Brownbill

Socceroos skipper to miss key World Cup clashes

SOCCEROOS skipper Mile Jedinak will not be part of the two make-or-break World Cup Qualifiers against Japan or Thailand.

The Aston Villa midfielder had been included in Ange Postecoglou's preliminary 30-man squad for the final two matches in Group B qualifying for Russia 2018, but has failed to recover from a groin injury that also saw him miss the Confederations Cup.

The midfielder is the biggest name on the list of seven cut from last week's list, joining Aziz Behich, Adam Federici, Ajdin Hrustic, James Jeggo, Riley McGree and Matthew Jurman in missing out.

Pacos Ferreira's Awer Mabil and Genk's Danny Vukovic are the only uncapped players in the squad, while Mathew Spiranovic retains his place after his re-inclusion last week, and Trent Sainsbury has been included despite being under a fitness cloud.

The rest of the squad picks itself, and heads to Tokyo on Sunday in strong form, with Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Mathew Leckie all starring in England, Scotland and Germany's top flights last weekend.

"Throughout this qualification campaign we have looked to evolve and improve from match to match,” Postecoglou said.

"I believe that the players that we have named today are ready for these two very important matches.

"Our focus is to get a positive result against Japan and then look to finish the group stage with a win on home soil in Melbourne against Thailand.”

As it stands, Australia is third in Group B, where only the top two qualify automatically for the World Cup.

Japan is first, on 17 points, and Australia is level with Saudi Arabia on 16.

Japan's goal difference is nine, Saudi Arabia's seven and Australia's six.

After the huge clash in Saitama, Australia takes on Thailand at AAMI Park, after which Japan travels to face the Saudis, knowing Australia's result, with a 3.30am kick-off in Jeddah that could determine the World Cup fate of all three nations.

Whoever comes third will face third place in Group A over two legs, currently Uzbekistan, with the winner facing a two-legged play-off against fourth in North and Central America, currently Panama.


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