Stefanutto called up for international debut
Australia's 2007 AFC Asian Cup preparations continued today when the 18-man Socceroos squad that would face Ghana in an international match at Loftus Road, London on 14 November was announced. Former Brisbane Strikers left-sided fullback Shane Stefanutto has received his first international call-up.
Australia's 2007 AFC Asian Cup preparations continued today when the 18-man Socceroos squad that would face Ghana in an international match at Loftus Road, London on 14 November was announced.
The majority of the 2006 FIFA World Cup squad have been included with Brett Holman, Scott McDonald and Patrick Kisnorbo also retained from the squad which played Kuwait in Kuwait City during September.
Head Coach Graham Arnold picked an all European based squad, deciding against selecting Hyundai A-League players due to the short space of time between their round of matches and the Tuesday evening international match in London.
The new face in the squad is Norway-based defender Shane Stefanutto who spent six years in the old national league with the Brisbane Strikers before joining SK Lillestrom in 2004.
Arnold pointed to the need to continue to build depth as the reason for Stefanutto's inclusion.
"We have had quite a few international retirements of left-sided defenders in a short space of time including Stan Lazaridis, Tony Vidmar, Tony Popovic and Danny Tiatto so we need to develop some other options and Shane will increase those options in that area," said Arnold.
Goalkeeper Michael Petkovic returns to the squad for the first time since February this year with Arnold keen to check on his progress.
"Ante Covic has done a great job for us but we haven't seen Michael in camp since the start of the year so this match gives us a good opportunity to bring him in and see how he is progressing," added Arnold.
"Similarly Patrick Kisnorbo has been playing well and we will take this chance to bring him in. It's important to have some rotation so we can continue to build depth."
Ghana (ranked 24 in the World, Australia 37) were the only African nation to make the second round of the 2006 FIFA World Cup registering wins over Czech Republic and USA who were both ranked in the top ten at the time. They were eliminated by Brazil at the same stage Australia lost to Italy.
Tickets are now on sale and range from £15 to £25. They are available from Ticketmaster (In the United Kingdom) on 0870 169 6874, www.ticketmaster.co.uk or from the Queens Park Rangers box office on 0870 112 1967.
The match will be broadcast in Australia exclusively live on SBS Television.
AUSTRALIAN SQUAD TO PLAY GHANA, TUESDAY 14 NOVEMBER LOFTUS ROAD, LONDON
John Aloisi (Alaves, Spain), Mark Bresciano (Palermo, Italy), Tim Cahill (Everton, England), Scott Chipperfield (Basel, Switzerland), Jason Culina (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers, England), Vince Grella (Parma, Italy), Brett Holman (NEC Nijmegen, Netherlands), Patrick Kisnorbo (Leicester City, England), Scott McDonald (Motherwell, Scotland), Craig Moore (Newcastle United, England), Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers, England), Michael Petkovic (Sivasspor, Turkey), Mark Schwarzer (Middlesbrough, England), Josip Skoko (Wigan, England), Shane Stefanutto (SK Lillestrom, Norway), Mile Sterjovski (Basel, Switzerland), Luke Wilkshire (Twente, Netherlands)