Published: Tue, May 08, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Socceroos squad named for Russia World Cup

Socceroos squad named for Russia World Cup

Daniel Arzani and Fran Karacic have been confirmed as the selection bolters for Australia's preliminary 32-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The most surprising addition to the Socceroos preliminary World Cup squad is a Croatian-born defender who is yet to step foot in the nation he will represent.

"Everybody knows that the right defending position, I don't have a lot of choices".

"He is young and must learn a lot but he is a player who can make a difference".

By necessity it's been a clinical, results-based approach for the former Netherlands and Saudi Arabia coach, who "likes to play fast football" but "will not hesitate to make decisions in games where I think I can win another way".

Those qualities and his regular performances that have elevated him to captain of Lokomotiva in the Croatian top flight caught the attention of van Marwijk as well, who regards Karacic as a potential solution to the problematic right back position for the Socceroos.

Coach van Marwijk said he turned to the captain of Zagreb-based side NK Lokomotiva as he was short on options at right back.

Cahill, Australia's record goalscorer, retained his place despite a chronic lack of match practice.

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Interestingly, Van Marwijk named Josh Brillante as part of his defence despite him playing in Sydney FC's midfield consistently over the past two seasons. What I already said he is playing in the under-21 [national team] in Croatia. "He's a special case".

For the past nine months or so, Football Federation Australia staff have attempted to coax Karacic to switch his worldwide football allegiances from Croatia - who he has represented at youth level - to his father's country of birth.

"I understand that there will be change and that (it) is also in the (World Cup) but I don't think that we don't discuss anymore situations when we have a video referee".

"He is not 19 like (Daniel) Arzani - he's twice as old - but is also a player who can make a difference".

"We have travelled extensively and watched many, many matches because we want to get as much information on as many players as possible", Van Marwijk explained.

"I should be lying if I didn't say that maybe in head are 26 or 27 players", van Marwijk said.

"I had a good experience with the 26 players in the 10 days that I worked with them [for friendlies against Norway and Colombia], so I had no reason not to nominate them again. But we have since seen other players so there will be a few new names in the squad".

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