Bert van Marwijk has named a 32-man provisional Australia squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, keeping alive Tim Cahill's dream of emulating Uwe Seeler, Pele and Miroslav Klose and handing maiden call-ups to youngsters Daniel Arzani and Fran Karacic.
Tim Cahill has been included in Australia's provisional squad for this year's World Cup in Russian Federation, boosting his prospects of being selected for a fourth World Cup. "He's 38. He is maybe one of the best players to ever play for Australia", Van Marwijk said.
Cahill was among 32 players picked in an expanded training squad, announced by coach Bert van Marwijk on Monday, but the veteran forward faces an anxious wait before knowing whether he will make the final cut for Russian Federation.
Van Marwijk said he would trim the squad to 26 or 27 players in about a week.
Croatian-born 21-year-old right-back Fran Karacic is the shock selection while established core Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Mat Ryan, Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse, Massimo Luongo and Tomi Juric have all been retained.
"He is not 19, but he is a player who can make a difference and a player who will not be nervous in front of 80,000 people".
"I had a long converstaion with Tim in Norway", Van Marwijk said.
Melbourne City wing prodigy Arzani has represented Australia at junior level but due to his heritage was also eligible to play for Iran. He is a very good striker.
Melbourne Victory win record fourth A-League grand final
The top tier Down Under employs a rather odd system for crowning a victor however. We've done it all year and we've got into the Grand final.
"He (Cahill) doesn't play much; maybe 5 or 10 or 20 minutes".
"He is not 19 like (Daniel) Arzani - he's twice as old - but is also a player who can make a difference".
Arzani is one of five A-League based players to make the squad, along with Josh Risdon, Dimi Petratos, James Troisi and Josh Brillante. He's a young player and he has a lot to learn but he can make a difference.
Lokomotiva have a strong youth emphasis, formerly the farm side for Croat giants Dinamo Zagreb, and the 21-year-old Aussie has emerged from nowhere - with no Australian youth caps to his name - to become an unlikely bolter for Aussie fans heading to Russian Federation.
At 185cm tall, he can also play other defensive positions along with right midfield but is viewed by the Australian camp as a solution for the problem right full-back position.
Australia face France, Denmark and Peru in Group C. They will play friendlies against Czech Republic and Hungary before their curtain-raiser in Russian Federation.
Striker Jamie McLaren's recent goal-scoring exploits in Scotland won him a recall alongside goalkeeper Mitchell Langerak, Alex Gersbach and Apostolos Giannou.