Australia will select an unusually large squad to face New Zealand’s All Whites in their two-international series in September, Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold has revealed.
Arnold says he wants a squad large enough he can field two teams to give him — and the players — every chance to select the best possible line-up to take to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Arnold told Socceroos.com:
“With three days in between the two games, it will be an extended squad and there will be pretty much two teams that play in those two games.
“I want to give as many players as I can a chance to get in that 26 to go to the World Cup and we’re already monitoring players as it is now.
“As I’ve said the boys, no one’s signed the contract and no one’s been given any guarantees. It’s all about form and it’s all about them being ready. It’s great to see that a lot of them have moved clubs from where they weren’t playing.”
Meanwhile, Adelaide United winger Craig Goodwin’s hopes of making the Socceroos squad have taken a setback with a groin injury that rule him out of September’s games.
“’Goody’ still needs a little bit more time – he’s another two to three weeks away (from) joining the team,” Adelaide coach Carl Veart told The West Australian.
Defender Kye Rowles will also miss both internationals as he faces eight weeks on the sidelines for a broken foot. The centre back, who plays for Scottish club Hearts, is expected to recover in time for the World Cup.
The competition for places in the World Cup squad ensures Australia will throw everything at the All Whites as the two sides meet for the first time since June 5, 2011, when Australia beat New Zealand 3-0 at Adelaide, in front of a crowd of 21,281.
Australia v All Whites
Thursday 22 September 22, 2022 (10pm NZT)
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
All Whites v Australia
Sunday September 25, 2022 (4pm NZT)
Eden Park, Auckland
The two games mark 100 years since New Zealand and Australia played the first ‘A’ international match in Dunedin.
On June 17, 1922, New Zealand won the game 3-1 in front of 8,000 spectators at Carisbrook
On June 7, 1923, the first ‘A’ international Socceroos’ match on home soil was contested at the Brisbane Cricket Ground before 7,000 supporters, which Australia won 2-1.