SYDNEY (Reuters) - Tim Cahill looks set to play in a fourth World Cup finals at the age of 38 this month after being included in Bert van Marwijk’s final 23-man Australia squad for Russia on Sunday.
The totemic forward made the cut along with 32-year-old defensive midfielder Mark Milligan, who is also included in the Socceroos squad for a fourth successive tournament even if he never got on to the pitch in Germany in 2006.
Croatian-born fullback Fran Karacic, a surprise selection in Van Marwijk’s initial squad who has never been to Australia, Australia-based midfielders Josh Brillante and James Troisi and striker Nikita Rukavytsya were the players omitted.
There was a place for Tomi Juric, who has been struggling with a knee injury, and for the player brought in as late cover for the Luzern striker, Jamie Maclaren.
“Every step of the selection process has been difficult because the players have all given everything to make the final selection,” Van Marwijk said from the team’s training camp in Turkey.
“I believe this group of players can do Australia proud at the world’s biggest football tournament if we continue to work collectively and intensively over the next two weeks and into the competition.”
The Socceroos play one final warm-up match against Hungary in Budapest next weekend before heading to Russia where they meet France in their first Group C match in Kazan on June 16.
Goalkeepers - Mat Ryan (Brighton & Hove Albion, England), Danny Vukovic (Genk, Belgium), Brad Jones (Feyenoord, Netherlands)
Defenders - Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F. Marinos, Japan), Matthew Jurman (Suwon Bluewings, South Korea), James Meredith (Millwall, England), Josh Risdon (Western Sydney), Trent Sainsbury (Grasshoppers Zurich, Switzerland)
Midfielders - Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa, England), Jackson Irvine (Hull City, England), Robbie Kruse (Bochum, Germany), Massimo Luongo (Queens Park Rangers, England), Mark Milligan (Al Ahli, Saudi Arabia), Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town, England), Tom Rogic (Celtic, Scotland).
Forwards - Tim Cahill (Millwall, England), Tomi Juric (FC Luzern, Switzerland), Matthew Leckie (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Andrew Nabbout (Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets), Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City), Jamie Maclaren (Hibernian, Scotland).
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Clare Fallon