Ange gives a final shot

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Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou hopes his side continues to be underestimated after their 4-3 loss to Ecuador, because he’s adamant the Aussies are on the right track.

Ange Postecoglou said the door is still open to A-League players hoping to make the World

Ange Postecoglou said the door is still open to A-League players hoping to make the World Cup.
Source: Getty Images

FINALS football is important, but not essential, for a crux group of A-League stars hoping to make the 23-man Socceroos squad for the World Cup in Brazil, coach Ange Postecoglou said on Tuesday.

Postecoglou named former Melbourne Victory pupil James Troisi, who he coached at Melbourne Victory, as one of a handful of A-League players who, despite not featuring in the friendly against Ecuador last week, he will have a close eye onwill be under scrutiny in the remaining six rounds of the season.

Fox Football commentator Andy Harper assesses the Socceroos’ midweek defeat to Ecuador and previews round 22 in the A-League.

Victory’s Mark Milligan and Tom Rogic joined Western Sydney’s Matt Spiranovic and Brisbane’s Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic as domestic league representatives in London last week. Postecoglou said Troisi, Adelaide defender Osama Malik and Newcastle youngsters Adam Taggart and Josh Brillante were all close to selection.

The A-League regular season concludes on April 13, but the final will not be played until May 4.

Postecoglou said Socceroos coaching staff had “made contingencies” for players in contention to make it to Brazil who may finish their club ­seasons earlier than others.

“I like this time of year in the A-League — it really tests players because just about every team is playing for something,” Postecoglou said.

“There’s a little bit of an edge to all of the games … and I think there will be more and more of those games.

Matthew Spiranovic is likely to be an A-League representative in Brazil.

Matthew Spiranovic is likely to be an A-League representative in Brazil.
Source: AP

“The kind of players that I’m looking at, to see how they perform under those kind of conditions is great. The Asian Champions League is included in that. We’ve obviously got three clubs involved in that.

“I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on the A-League and each player’s performance on a weekly basis.”

A preliminary 30-man squad will be named for the World Cup on May 14 or 15 before that squadand convene for a training camp in Gosford on the 16thfrom May 16-22.

The Socceroos will remain there until May 22 before travelling to Sydney ahead of theforplay a farewell game against South Africa at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on May 26. The squad will be cut to 27 the following day and those players will go to Brazil. on the 28th where the final squad of 23 will be named on June 2 or 3.

The Sunday Shootout team take a look at the Socceroos following their 4-3 loss to Ecuador and go over the possible candidates to replace the injured Robbie Kruse at the World Cup.

The four players who are cut will ­remain in Brazil until the first group game against Chile in Cuiaba on June 13 in case they are needed as late injury replacements.

A match against a local Brazilian side, to be played between arrival in the country andbefore the Croatia friendly on June 6, is still to be confirmed.

Postecoglou was lauded for playing a young team in the 4-3 loss to Ecuador, but insisted yesterday he would not be selecting anyone in the 23-man squad simply for the experience.

“They’re going to have to earn it,” he said. “Anyone in the 23-man squad I’d be expecting to stand up and play if required.

“We’ve seen a 20-year-old Curtis Good, 21-year-old Massimo Luongo, Mat Ryan and Tom Rogic are not much older than that, guys in that age bracket have already made their senior debut.

“That’s the opportunity that exists right now. What I’m looking for is players who want that opportunity.”

Postecoglou said he hoped Curtis Good, who suffered a hip flexor strain in the Ecuador game, would return to the field within four weeks, in time to play in Dundee United’s final league game on April 5 and a Scottish Cup semi-final on April 13.

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