Socceroos captain Mile Jedinak, Matthew Spiranovic and Brad Smith have returned to Australia’s squad for their crucial World Cup qualifiers against Japan and Thailand.
Australia boss Ange Postecoglou announced his initial 30-man squad for the upcoming fixtures, welcoming back Jedinak and full-back Smith on Tuesday.
Jedinak sat out the Confederations Cup in Russia due to a groin injury, while a hamstring issue forced Smith to miss the tournament.
Defender Spiranovic is also back in the fold, having not featured since the AFC World Cup qualifier against Thailand in November last year.
Former Sydney FC defender Matthew Jurman – now playing in South Korea – received his first call-up, alongside fellow uncapped team-mates James Jeggo, Awer Mabil, Riley McGree and Danny Vukovic, though the squad will be trimmed to 23 on August 23.
“We haven’t strayed too far from the players who went to the Confederations Cup and who we have had on the radar for a while, so not a great deal of change at this stage,” said Postecoglou.
“There are a few new faces as well to have a look at, but overall pretty pleased with the shape we are in.”
Australia face do-or-die Group B matches against leaders Japan on August 31 and Thailand on September 5.
The Socceroos are third with two matches remaining in the third round, adrift of the automatic qualification spots on goal difference and a point behind Japan ahead of their trip to Saitama.
Postecoglou said: “It is going to be a great challenge playing away from home against one of the top nations but that’s what we like to embrace as a team. We are looking forward to going over there and hopefully getting three points which will put us in great shape for qualification.”
As for the final World Cup qualifier in Melbourne, Postecoglou added: “Wherever we have played away from home in this group there have been large crowds to support the home team which definitely makes a difference and we want the same in Melbourne. I know the players look forward to it. There is nothing better than playing on home soil, in front of a big crowd and hopefully getting a good win.”
Goalkeepers: Adam Federici (Bournemouth), Mitchell Langerak (Stuttgart), Mathew Ryan (Brighton and Hove Albion), Danny Vukovic (Genk)
Defenders: Aziz Behich (Bursaspor), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F Marinos), Alex Gersbach (Rosenborg), Matt Jurman (Suwon Bluewings), Ryan McGowan (Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning), Brad Smith (Bournemouth), Matthew Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown), Bailey Wright (Bristol City)
Midfielders: Mustafa Amini (Aarhus), Ajdin Hrustic (Groningen), Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa), James Jeggo (Sturm Graz), Massimo Luongo (QPR), Riley McGree (Club Brugge), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town), Tom Rogic (Celtic), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (Melbourne City), Tomi Juric (Luzern), Robbie Kruse (Bochum), Mathew Leckie (Hertha Berlin), Awer Mabil (Pacos de Ferreira), Jamie Maclaren (Darmstadt)