Twenty-seven players hailing from clubs in Australia, Scotland, Saudi Arabia, United States of America, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Turkey, Denmark, Spain, and Netherlands, will unite for Australia this month as the Socceroos take on Japan (home) and Saudi Arabia (away) in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying.
Australia’s squad for next Thursday night’s match against Japan at the iconic Stadium Australia in Sydney and the following week’s encounter with Saudi Arabia at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah features a mix of international experience and fresh energy, including five uncapped players and three of which will be entering the Socceroos’ set-up for the very first time.
Olyroos graduates Nathaniel Atkinson and Nicholas D’Agostino – who has been in scintillating form for Melbourne Victory of late – will make their first contributions to a Socceroos camp in Sydney next week, while Perth Glory ace Bruno Fornaroli has been called up after he was recently granted Australian citizenship.
With Fornaroli’s Australian citizenship now granted, Football Australia has submitted paperwork to FIFA requesting to switch Fornaroli’s international football allegiance from Uruguay to Australia and is anticipating that this will be approved prior to next Thursday’s match against Japan. In late 2021 Football Australia underwent through the same process regarding the versatile Gianni Stensness, who has also been included in the Socceroos’ squad for March 2022.
With the Socceroos having the opportunity to advance directly to this year’s FIFA World Cup™ in Qatar should they earn back-to-back wins over Japan and Saudi Arabia over the next fortnight, Arnold is confident that he has selected a group of players ready to make the most of what he’s labelling a “win-win window” for the group.
“This window represents a great opportunity for our players and staff to do something truly special for Australian football, and we will be focusing all our energies on producing two great performances against Japan and Saudi Arabia and lifting the Socceroos to the World Cup,” Arnold said.
“But I truly view March 2022 as a win-win window for this group. With a play-off spot for June already locked in, if required, the players will be able to come to camp with clear minds as to what’s ahead of them, and enjoy the time that they have working hard together and playing in front of their family, friends, and fans.”
“I am energised by the messages that I have received from the boys over the past two days after they were notified of their selections. That it means as much to a Bruno (Fornaroli), Nathaniel (Atkinson), Nick (D’Agostino), Kye (Rowles), or Gianni (Stensness), players who have yet to take the pitch for Australia, as it does for a Maty (Ryan) or ‘Lecks’ (Mathew Leckie) highlights to me that they can’t wait to be back together to tackle this challenge head on and continue this great journey together,” he said.
Melbourne City FC striker Jamie Maclaren* will depart camp following the Japan fixture due to his wedding, while Adelaide United FC goalkeeper Joe Gauci will attend the first week of camp to help the Socceroos in training and for his own professional development. With Mathew Ryan and Danny Vukovic not due to arrive in camp until late Tuesday, 21-year-old Gauci has been given the blessing of his club, Adelaide United FC, to be introduced to the Socceroos’ environment and to help the squad in training ahead of the Japan encounter.
Next Thursday’s match will represent Australia’s 17th fixture in its quest to qualify for Qatar 2022. Across two Asian qualification phases, the Socceroos have won 12 matches, drawn three, and lost one fixture, with all bar three of the 16 qualification fixtures played thus far held on foreign soil. Next Thursday’s clash with Japan will be Australia’s fourth and final qualification match on home soil ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
The match will be beamed live and free in Australia on Network 10 and simulcast on 10 Play in primetime. Tickets are available from Ticketek.
Socceroos Squad | 21 – 29 March 2022 | FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round)
|Name||Club, Country||‘A’ Caps (Goals)||Junior Club |
|Nathaniel ATKINSON||Heart of Midlothian, Scotland||0 (0)||Riverside Olympic FC (Football Tasmania)|
|Aziz BEHICH||Giresunspor, Turkey||48 (2)||Meadow Park SC (Football Victoria)|
|Martin BOYLE||Al-Faisaly, Saudi Arabia||14 (5)||Lewis United FC/Montrose FC (Scotland)|
|Nicholas D’AGOSTINO||Melbourne Victory FC, Australia||0 (0)||Runaway Bay SC (Football Queensland)|
|Milos DEGENEK||Columbus Crew, USA||35 (1)||Blacktown City FC (Football NSW)|
|Mitchell DUKE||Fagiano Okayama, Japan||17 (7)||Liverpool Rangers SC (Football NSW)|
|Bruno FORNAROLI||Perth Glory FC, Australia||0 (0)||Club Nacional de Football (Uruguay)|
|Denis GENREAU||Toulouse FC, France||1 (0)||Brighton SC (Football Victoria)|
|Craig GOODWIN||Adelaide United FC, Australia||7 (1)||Munno Para City SC (Football South Australia)|
|Rhyan GRANT||Sydney FC, Australia||20 (1)||Canowindra Juniors/Bathurst 75 (Football NSW)|
|Ajdin HRUSTIC||Eintracht Frankfurt, Germany||14 (2)||Heatherton United SC (Football Victoria)|
|Jackson IRVINE||FC St. Pauli, Germany||45 (6)||Ringwood City SC (Football Victoria)|
|James JEGGO||KAS Eupen, Belgium||13 (0)||Green Gully SC (Football Victoria)|
|Fran KARACIC||Brescia Calcio, Italy||7 (1)||NK Lokomotiva (Croatia)|
|Joel KING||Odense Boldklub, Denmark||1 (0)||Shellharbour Junior FC (Football NSW)|
|Mathew LECKIE||Melbourne City FC, Australia||69 (13)||Brimbank Stallions FC (Football Victoria)|
|Awer MABIL||Kasimpasa SK, Turkey||23 (6)||Saint Augustines FC (Football South Australia)|
|Jamie MACLAREN*||Melbourne City FC, Australia||21 (8)||Green Gully SC (Football Victoria)|
|Connor METCALFE||Melbourne City FC, Australia||2 (0)||South Cardiff FC (Northern NSW Football)|
|Andrew REDMAYNE (Gk)||Sydney FC, Australia||2 (0)||Gosford City Dragons FC (Football NSW)|
|Tomas ROGIC||Celtic FC, Scotland||53 (10)||Tuggeranong United FC (Capital Football)|
|Kye ROWLES||Central Coast Mariners FC, Australia||0 (0)||Palm Beach SC (Football Queensland)|
|Mathew RYAN (Gk)||Real Sociedad, Spain||69 (0)||Blacktown City FC (Football NSW)|
|Trent SAINSBURY||KV Kortrijk, Belgium||58 (4)||Armadale SC (Football West)|
|Gianni STENSNESS||Viking FK, Denmark||0 (0)||Pittwater RSL FC/Collaroy Cromer SC (Football NSW)|
|Marco TILIO||Melbourne City FC, Australia||1 (0)||APIA Leichhardt FC/Sydney Olympic FC (Football NSW)|
|Daniel VUKOVIC (Gk)||NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands||4 (0)||St Clair United SC (Football NSW)|
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ – AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round)
Matchday 9: Australia v Japan
Date: Thursday, 24 March 2022
Venue: Stadium Australia, Sydney, Australia
Kick-off: 7.40pm ACDT
Tickets: Tickets available from Ticketek
Broadcast: Live and free in Australia on Network 10 and simulcast on 10 Play