Hrustic, Rogic led the Australian squad to a crunch World Cup playoff

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SYDNEY (AFP) – Ajdin Hrustic, recent from a Europa League win with Eintracht Frankfurt, and former Celtic star Tom Rogic led the Australian squad named on Saturday for a crunch World Cup playoff against the United Arab Emirates.

The Socceroos ’bid to immediately make it to the fifth consecutive World Cup ended with defeats from Japan and Saudi Arabia in March.

This pushed him into the Asian qualifying playoffs against the UAE in Doha on June 7, with the champions then facing Peru a week later to earn a place in this year’s final in Qatar.

Striker midfielder Hrustic entered the camp at the end of a recent Europa League win, helping Frankfurt beat Rangers on penalties, while Rogic was a key part of Celtic’s side that won the Scottish league title.

Coach Graham Arnold named nine players who were not involved in the Japanese and Saudi games when the squad was hit by Covid-19 and injured.

There is a return for Adelaide winger Craig Goodwin, Melbourne City striker Mathew Leckie and Central Coast defender Kye Rowles along with striker Adam Taggart, playmaker Aaron Mooy, Rogic and Jackson Irvine.

Arnold’s attacking force was also boosted by the return of A-League golden shoe champion Jamie Maclaren who missed a Saudi game in March to get married.

“The qualifying journey for this year’s World Cup is really tough, but the bigger the challenge, the more the rewards,” said Arnold, whose work is on the line.

“As in 2017 and 2005, I am confident that the boys will appear in the playoff system and follow Australia to the World Cup.”

Speculation spread that Arnold would be sacked after failing to automatically make it to the World Cup, but Australian Football supported him to stay until at least the end of his qualifying campaign.

Australia will play a friendly against Jordan in Doha on June 1 to prepare for the UAE game.

Australian squad: Nathaniel Atkinson (Hearts/SCO), Aziz Behich (contract), Martin Boyle (Al-Faisaly/KSA), Nick D’Agostino (Melbourne Victory), Jason Davidson (Melbourne Victory), Milos Degenek (Columbus Crew). /USA), Kenny Dougall (Blackpool/ENG), Mitchell Duke (Fagiano Okayama/JPN), Denis Genreau (Toulouse/FRA), Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United), Ajdin Hrustic (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Jackson Irvine (St. Louis). Pauli/GER), Fran Karacic (Brescia/ITA), Joel King (Odense Boldklub/DEN), Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City), Awer Mabil (contract), Jamie Maclaren (Melbourne City), Riley McGree (Middlesbrough/ENG). ), Aaron Mooy (Shanghai Port FC/CHN), Andrew Redmayne (Sydney FC), Tom Rogic (contract), Kye Rowles (Central Coast Mariners), Mat Ryan (Real Sociedad/ESP), Trent Sainsbury (contract). ), Gianni Stemsness (Viking FK/DEN), Adam Taggart (Cerezo Osaka/JPN), Marco Tilio (Melbourne City), Danny Vukovic (NEC Nijmegen/NED), Bailey Wright (Sunderland/ENG)