Cahill in Australia's World Cup squad

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:40 IST

Australia manager Guus Hiddink named goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and Tim Cahill to his 23-man World Cup squad on Wednesday.

Cahill in Australia's World Cup squad

Sydney:

Australia manager Guus Hiddink gambled on the fitness of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and Tim Cahill, naming the England-based pair to his 23-man World Cup squad on Wednesday. Everton midfielder Cahill injured knee ligaments and Middlesbrough 'keeper Schwarzer broke his cheekbone in Premier League matches last month and have been sidelined since. Football Federation Australia staff said both players were recovering well and were in contention for the Socceroos' World Cup opener against Japan on June 12. The Australians, in the finals for the first time in 32 years, are in a difficult Group F that also includes defending champion Brazil and Croatia. Sydney FC right back Mark Milligan and Central Coast Mariners central defender Michael Beauchamp were the only players from Australia's domestic A-League named to the squad, which will be headlined by Liverpool's Harry Kewell and Middlesbrough striker Mark Viduka. The Australians reached the World Cup finals for the first time since 1974 after topping the Oceania qualifiers and then - after Hiddink replaced Frank Farina as head coach - edging two-time world champion Uruguay on penalties in November. Hiddink guided his native Netherlands to the World Cup semifinals at France '98 and led co-host South Korea on its surprising semifinal run in 2002. The South Koreans had not won a match in five previous World Cup finals campaigns. While admitting the group was "tough,'' Hiddink was hoping to engineer more surprises in Germany. Second roundIn a video link with the official unveiling of the team at the Qantas Jet Base in Sydney, Hiddink said his squad was aiming for the second round. He said Japan had grown in experience and confidence over the last three World Cup campaigns, while the strengths of Brazil and Croatia were no secret. "Brazil, everyone knows that will be a special game,'' Hiddink said. The June 22 "Croatian game has a history of itself because of a lot of connections between Australian-Croatians or the other way around, so that will be a very hectic clash at the end.'' Australia lost veteran defender Tony Vidmar, who was diagnosed with an irregular heart rhythm after breaking ribs playing for NAC Breda in a Dutch club match earlier in the season. Although Newcastle United defender Craig Moore, a former Glasgow Rangers and Australia captain, was recalled after missing the Uruguay series. Socceroos assistant coach Graham Arnold said the final selection was difficult, but every player in contention had been closely monitored and decisions were made on form. (AP)



Topics : Football Australia Tim Cahill
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