31 players bound for Kuwait as Socceroos seek to seal top spot in Group B

Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold today named the 31 players selected to represent Australia in the Middle East throughout May and June, as the nation’s quest to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ edges closer to a restart.

The Socceroos commenced their path to next year’s FIFA World Cup™ in September 2019, however due to the global impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic the squad have not been able to build on their winning start to qualifying since November 2019 when the team recorded an historic victory away to Jordan in Amman.

Arnold’s squad for Australia’s final four Round 2, Group B Asian qualifying fixtures against Kuwait, Chinese Taipei, Nepal, and Jordan in Kuwait City features a truly international blend of players plying their trade at clubs across Europe, Asia, and Australia, with a total of 17 different leagues from across the globe represented in the Socceroos’ squad for the forthcoming FIFA window.

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In the proud and fabled 99-year history of Australia’s senior men’s football team just 606 footballers have represented Australia at ‘A’ international level, however that number could increase by up to seven over the coming weeks as several uncapped players join the Socceroos in the Gulf.

A-League-based stars Denis Genreau, Connor Metcalfe, and Ruon Tongyik are among the uncapped contingent called up for the matches, alongside Fran Karacic from Italy’s Seria B, Kenneth Dougall from England’s League One, Riley McGree from England’s Championship, and goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas from Denmark’s Superliga.

11 of the 31 players in the squad have arrived in the Middle East to begin to prepare and acclimatise ahead of next month’s fixtures. Six more players will join the Socceroos at varying stages over the coming week as they complete their individual club commitments, while the remaining 14 players will assemble with the squad either just prior to the team’s transit to Kuwait, or in Kuwait City itself.

Socceroos Potential Debutants
(L-R): Ruon Tongyik, Riley McGree & Denis Genreau are three uncapped players selected in the 31-man Socceroos squad.

Australia Head Coach Graham Arnold said he’s delighted with the make-up of his squad for June’s qualifiers, and is ecstatic that after 18 months of men’s national team inactivity the Socceroos’ family is finally coming back together.

“I am very happy with the players that have arrived, and will continue to arrive, to represent the Socceroos in our final four Round 2 qualifiers,” Arnold said. “We’ve selected a balanced squad that combines youth and experience, but also one that rewards players for their outstanding performances at their clubs over the past six to twelve months.”

“I have said many times that I believe that the strength of the Socceroos is through its young players. Along with my staff, I can’t wait to work with the many fresh faces in this squad as we continue to build the depth of the national team. Equally so, we are excited to work with the experienced and senior players we will have with us, as together we strive to advance to the next round of qualifying with eight wins on our record.

“Our extended 31 player squad will provide us with the flexibility and adaptability that we will need given we will play four matches in 12 days, and the acclimatisation and preparation period that half of our squad will have here in the UAE will be crucial ahead of the first two games in Kuwait.

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“It is no secret that we had originally targeted to name this squad last week, however some challenges with COVID, as well as some injuries and personal circumstances, have meant some players were ruled out of the final reckoning. We have communicated at length with those players and will continue to support them individually as they strive to return to the Socceroos later in the year,” he said.

The Socceroos will swap the UAE for the Kuwait hub on May 31 and will play their final four Group B qualifiers on June 3, 7, 11, and 15 (local time). Full match details and broadcast details can be found below.

While in Kuwait the team will wear black armbands to honour a number of people who made significant contributions to the Socceroos, and Australian football, who have sadly passed since the Socceroos last took to the pitch. These include long serving Socceroos coach Frank Arok AM, FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010™ Coach Pim Verbeek, Socceroos players Frank Parsons (#107), Alan Marnoch (#186), Bill Murphy (#131), and Alan Garside (#148), and former physiotherapist Charlie Jurisic.

Socceroos 31-Player Squad | May-June 2021 | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ & AFC Asian Cup China 2023™ – Preliminary Joint Qualification Round 2 | Kuwait Hub

Name

Club, Country

A-International Caps (Goals)

Aziz BEHICH

Kayserispor, Turkey

38 (2)

Brandon BORRELLO

Fortuna Dusseldorf, Germany

3 (0)

Martin BOYLE

Hibernian FC, Scotland

4 (2)

Milos DEGENEK

Red Star Belgrade, Serbia

29 (1)

Kenneth DOUGALL

Blackpool FC, England

Uncapped

Mitchell DUKE

Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

6 (2)

Denis GENREAU

Macarthur FC, Australia

Uncapped

Apostolos GIANNOU

OFI Crete, Greece

12 (2)

Curtis GOOD

Melbourne City FC, Australia

1 (0)

Rhyan GRANT

Sydney FC, Australia

12 (0)

James HOLLAND

LASK Linz, Austria

15 (0)

Ajdin HRUSTIC

Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany

3 (0)

Chris IKONOMIDIS

Perth Glory FC, Australia

12 (2)

Jackson IRVINE

Hibernian FC, Scotland

34 (5)

Fran KARACIC

Brescia Calcio, Italy

Uncapped

Mathew LECKIE

Hertha BSC, Germany

63 (11)

Awer MABIL

FC Midtjylland, Denmark

14 (4)

Jamie MACLAREN

Melbourne City FC, Australia

17 (5)

Ryan MCGOWAN

Sydney FC, Australia

20 (0)

Riley MCGREE

Birmingham City FC, England

Uncapped

Connor METCALFE

Melbourne City FC, Australia

Uncapped

Andrew REDMAYNE (Gk)

Sydney FC, Australia

1 (0)

Nikita RUKAVYTSYA

Maccabi Haifa FC, Israel

18 (1)

Mathew RYAN (Gk)

Arsenal FC, England

59 (0)

Trent SAINSBURY

KV Kortrijk, Belgium

48 (3)

Brad SMITH

Seattle Sounders FC, United States of America

22 (0)

Harry SOUTTAR

Stoke City FC, England

2 (4)

Adam TAGGART

Cerezo Osaka, Japan

11 (6)

Lawrence THOMAS (Gk)

SønderjyskE Fodbold, Denmark

Uncapped

Ruon TONGYIK

Central Coast Mariners FC, Australia

Uncapped

Danny VUKOVIC (Gk)

KRC Genk, Belgium

3 (0)

Match Schedule

Match 1: Australia v Kuwait

Date: Thursday, 3 June 2021

Venue: Jaber Al-Hamed Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Kick-off: 9:30pm (local) – 4:30am Friday, 4 June 2021 AEST

Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, ABC TV, and My Football Live App

Match 2: Australia v Chinese Taipei

Date: Monday, 7 June 2021

Venue: Jaber Al-Hamed Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Kick-off: 7:30pm (local) – 2:30am Tuesday, 8 June 2021 AEST

Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, ABC TV, and My Football Live App

Match 3: Nepal v Australia

Date: Friday, 11 June 2021

Venue: Kuwait SC Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Kick-off: 7:30pm (local) – 2:30am Saturday, 12 June 2021 AEST

Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, SBS TV, and My Football Live App

Match 4: Australia v Jordan

Date: Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Venue: Kuwait SC Stadium, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Kick-off: 9:30pm (local) – 4:30am Wednesday, 16 June 2021 AEST

Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, ABC TV, and My Football Live App

WATCH: Graham Arnold’s Socceroos and Olyroos squad update

READ: Through adversity & sacrifice: How Graham Arnold learned what it means to be a Socceroo

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