The Socceroos’ quest to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will continue in Qatar and Japan over the next fortnight, with 25 players today named to represent Australia throughout the upcoming FIFA window.
After commencing the Final Round of AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar fixtures with a pair of wins against China PR and Vietnam in September, the Socceroos will be out to build on their strong start in Group B when they take on Oman in Doha (October 7) and Japan in Saitama (October 12).
The Socceroos’ squad for October’s FIFA window is comprised of 23 overseas-based players, with two (2) representatives – Melbourne Victory’s Chris Ikonomidis and Sydney FC’s Rhyan Grant – selected from A-League Men.
Ongoing hotel quarantine requirements in Australia remain challenging for Football Australia and domestic-based players hoping to play for the Socceroos.
Attacker Ikonomidis, however, has committed to the October window despite the prospect of having to undertake two weeks of hotel quarantine upon his return to Australia, while Grant, after he scored his first goal for Australia at senior international level last month, remained abroad and trained in Hibernian FC’s high-performance environment alongside fellow Socceroo Martin Boyle to maintain his fitness to be prepared for Socceroos selection.
Football Australia is currently consulting with the Victorian State Government regarding its quarantine arrangements for Ikonomidis upon his return to Australia and the possibility of the player being able to self-isolate at home instead of entering hotel quarantine.
Football Australia believes that self-isolation would provide the player with a more conducive environment to support physical and mental wellbeing, and prepare for the A-League Men’s 2021/22 season, and further national team selection, while balancing the Government’s desire to protect the community.
Arnold said that he is pleased with the make-up of Australia’s squad for October 2021, a squad that has remained steady from September’s fixtures, but also welcomes back exciting forward Ikonomidis and promising defender Fran Karacic to the Socceroos’ family.
“We made a great start to the Final Round of qualifying last month, however our focus immediately after the Vietnam win, and while the players have been back at their clubs, has been on our next match against Oman and continuing our World Cup journey by securing another three points on matchday three,” Arnold said.
I am very happy with the squad that we will have with us in Qatar and Japan for our next two matches. Many of the boys will carry exceptional club form into camp, and the fact that we will be together again so soon after the September window will allow us to quickly reconnect and build on what we worked on in the time that we had together last month
“We are continuing to discuss quarantine options with Government for national team players and staff who return from abroad after representing Australia. As coach, I hope that these exchanges progress positively so that we can consider the selection of more representatives from A-League Men for future squads.”
Australia’s fixtures against Oman and Japan will be broadcast exclusively live and free in Australia on 10. Coverage of Australia’s first match in October will commence on 10 and 10 Play from 5am AEDT on Friday, 8 October 2021.
Football Australia, together with the NSW Government, recently announced that the Commonwealth Bank Matildas will host Brazil in a two-match series in NSW on 23 October and 26 October, at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta.
Football Australia is confident that this friendly series will help to pave the way for the Socceroos to play AFC Asian Qualifiers – Road to Qatar (Final Round) fixtures in New South Wales from November onwards. The Socceroos are scheduled to host Saudi Arabia in Australia on 11 November 2021.