Caltex Socceroos Head Coach Bert van Marwijk today named 32 players as part of his preliminary squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ which will commence in Russia next month.
All 26 players who took part in van Marwijk’s first Caltex Socceroos camp in March this year – which included friendlies against Norway in Oslo and Colombia in London – have been included in the preliminary list of players, while six new players are also in contention for selection.
Dimi Petratos – part of van Marwijk’s previous squad said he was honoured by his selection in the 32-player preliminary squad.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the Socceroos squad, with a chance to play in a World Cup on the line,” said Petratos.
“I really enjoyed my time with the national team earlier this year, and making my debut (against Norway) is something that I’ll always remember.
“It’s a strong group of players that have been selected for the preliminary squad and competition for places will be tough, but overall I’m just really excited about the opportunity."
Petrtos will also be joined by former teammate, Andrew Nabbout who now plies his trade in the J-League with the Red Diamonds.
Van Marwijk and his coaching staff will reduce the preliminary squad to 26 players next week before the team assembles in Turkey for the start of their pre-tournament training camp from Saturday, 19 May.
After an intensive period of training, the Caltex Socceroos will play the Czech Republic in St. Polten, Austria on Friday, 1 June (local time) in what will be one of the final opportunities for the players to press their claim to be included in the final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
The final list of 23-players is scheduled to be announced in Turkey on Sunday, 3 June, and the team will continue their build-up for the tournament with a further friendly against Hungary in Budapest on Saturday, 9 June (local time).
Van Marwijk said the players that featured in his first camp deserved to retain their places, however admitted additional players have piqued his interest since Australia drew 0-0 with Colombia at Craven Cottage in London.