2022 World Cup: Teen sensation Garang Kuol headlines Australia final squad
Teenage supersub Garang Kuol and former Scotland international Jason Cummings were included in Australia’s squad for the World Cup on Tuesday but experienced central defender Trent Sainsbury was a surprise omission.
Coach Graham Arnold named his 26-man squad from Doha, where the Socceroos will face champions France, Tunisia and Denmark in Group D in their fifth successive trip to the finals.
Apart from when Tim Cahill was on the pitch, goals have always been hard to come by for Australia at World Cups and the inclusion of Central Coast Mariners teammates Kuol and Cummings offers Arnold fresh, if untested, options up front.
Mitch Langerak was also expected to be included as one of the backup goalkeepers to Mat Ryan after ending a brief international retirement but lost out to Danny Vukovic and Andrew Redmayne, the hero of Australia’s playoff win over Peru.
Ryan will captain the team in his third World Cup.
Roma’s promising midfielder Cristian Volpato, born in Sydney to Italian parents, was not included in the party, adding credence to media reports that the teenager has decided to throw in his lot with Italy.
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (FC Copenhagen), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC).
Defenders: Harry Souttar (Stoke City), Milos Degenek (Columbus Crew), Bailey Wright (Sunderland), Thomas Deng (Albirex Niigata), Fran Karacic (Brescia), Nathaniel Atkinson (Heart of Midlothian), Aziz Behich (Dundee United), Kye Rowles (Heart of Midlothian), Joel King (Odense Boldklub).
Midfielders: Aaron Mooy (Celtic), Jackson Irvine (FC St. Pauli), Ajdin Hrustic (Hellas Verona), Cameron Devlin (Heart of Midlothian), Riley McGree (Middlesbrough), Keanu Baccus (St Mirren).
Forwards: Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City), Mitchell Duke (Fagiano Okayama), Jason Cummings (Central Coast Mariners), Garang Kuol (Central Coast Mariners), Awer Mabil (Cadiz), Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United), Martin Boyle (Hibernian)