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Australia names Asian Cup squad
European based stars to be used in AFC debut.
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2007 11:04 GMT

Harry Kewell: Looking for plenty of game time for Australia [GALLO/GETTY]

Australia has named its highest profile European stars in its Asian Cup squad as the country looks to make a successful debut in its new confederation.
 
Liverpool midfielder Harry Kewell, new Newcastle signing Mark Viduka, Everton midfielder Tim Cahill and Middlesbrough goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer were among the 23-man squad announced Friday.

Spain-based John Aloisi and Blackburn's Brett Emerton were also included by coach Graham Arnold.

"I think you can see by the strength of the squad on paper that it's an outstanding squad and the task now is to transfer that on to the field and make sure that there's no complacency," Arnold said.

Celtic striker Scott McDonald was overlooked for selection, while the surprise addition was 23 year old Sydney FC midfielder David Carney.

"I didn't expect to be in it straightaway but I knew I was in with a shot so when they told me obviously I was over the moon," Carney said.

"I was ordering Thai at the time and I felt like kissing everyone in the shop."

McDonald grounded

McDonald played in last week's friendly loss to Uruguay in Sydney but failed to make the cut Friday.

Arnold says he chose not to select McDonald to give the emerging striker a full preseason with his new club at Glasgow.

McDonald has only just joined Celtic from Scottish rival Motherwell.

"If Scotty McDonald is playing football week in, week out with Celtic, and playing in European competition, then it's going to be better for the Socceroos in the long run looking forward to 2008, 2009 and South Africa in 2010," Arnold said.

Australia, which switched to the Asian Football Confederation last year from Oceania, will be making its inaugural appearance in the regional showcase tournament.

The Australians qualified via Oceania for the 2006 World Cup, and reached the second round before a last-minute loss to eventual champion Italy.

Warm up

The Socceroos will play a warm up match at Singapore on June 30, although Kewell and Cahill are unlikely to start in that match as they continue rehabilitation from injuries.

Australia's Asian Cup group matches in the tournament begin July 8 in Thailand against Oman, with later matches against Iraq and Thailand, all in Bangkok.

The 16-nation tournament will be hosted in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Australian squad:

Goalkeepers: Mark Schwarzer, Brad Jones, Michael Petkovic

Defenders: Lucas Neill, Brett Emerton, Michael Beauchamp, Michael Thwaite, Mark Milligan, Patrick Kisnorbo

Midfielders: Mark Bresciano, Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill, Vince Grella, Mile Sterjovski, Luke Wilkshire, Jason Culina, Carl Valeri, Nick Carle, David Carney

Forwards: Mark Viduka, John Aloisi, Archie Thompson, Brett Holman.

Source:
Agencies
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