RIO DE JANEIRO: Australian head Coach Ange Postecoglou brought World Cup heartache to four players, including playmaker Tom Rogic, in unveiling his definitive 23-man squad.
As Monday’s deadline expired Postecoglou had broken the news to a squad captained by midfielder Mile Jedinak that Rogic, Mark Birighitti, Josh Kennedy and Luke Wilkshire would be jettisoned.
Veterans Tim Cahill, Mark Bresciano and Mark Milligan meanwhile become the first players to represent the Socceroos at three World Cup tournaments having been involved in the 2006 and 2010 campaigns.
Of the squad, seven play in the Australian A-League.
Postecoglou said he had thought long and hard about his choices -- which were unexpected at least in the case of Wilkshire.
The Dynamo Moscow right back’s omission means there is only one recognised right back in the form of Ivan Franjic.
Franjic comes to the event on the back of recent fitness problems following a knee injury suffered last week against South Africa last week.
“Every step of the selection process has been difficult because the players have worked very hard since they came into camp,” said Postecoglou.
“But we have had to weigh up form, fitness and squad balance in coming up with the 23 players who will represent Australia at the 2014 World Cup,” he said.
“We’ve selected a squad that can do Australia proud and they will walk out onto the pitch for the World Cup in the green and gold shirt and display the characteristics that define our country.
“Our stated aim is to make our country proud, show the world what Australians are made of and test ourselves against the very best football players in the world and this group of players is capable of doing that.”
Midfielder Mark Bresciano survived the cull despite a sore back but Kennedy, who scored the goal against Iraq which qualified his country, lost out with a back problem of his own which had hampered his preparations.
Rogic struggled for 45 minutes of Monday’s friendly against club side Parana with a groin problem and after a meeting with medical staff late Monday the head coach elected to cut him from the roster.
Kennedy missed the game after his back seized up.
Newcastle Jets shot-stopper Birighitti will stay with the squad through to the opening game against Chile on June 14 in Cuiaba as the team monitor Dortmund keeper Mitch Langerak’s knee.
The countries met in the 1974 finals, playing out a goalless draw in Berlin.
Australia final squad:
Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United).
Defenders: Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng)
Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Bresciano (Al-Gharafa)
Strikers: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt).