Qantas Under 23's get overseas boost
The Qantas Under 23s have been bolstered by the inclusion of four overseas-based players for next Wednesday’s crucial Beijing 2008 qualifying match against Group D leaders Saudi Arabia at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide.
The Qantas Under 23s have been bolstered by the inclusion of four overseas-based players for next Wednesday-s crucial Beijing 2008 qualifying match against Group D leaders Saudi Arabia at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide.
Birmingham City midfielder Neil Kilkenny is set to make his debut for the team after making one appearance for the Socceroos just prior to last year-s FIFA World Cup. Also joining the squad are Hereford United defender Trent McClenahan, Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Nick Ward and striker David Williams of Danish club Brondby, all of whom have already appeared for the Qantas Under 23s during the current campaign.
Also returning to the squad after missing last week-s match against Jordan are Sydney FC defender Ruben Zadkovich, who has recovered from a toe injury, and Queensland Roar striker Dario Vidosic.
The squad also includes two players from outside the Hyundai A-League with striker Jason Naidovski of the AIS again selected, while midfielder Philip Makrys of NSW Premier League club Bankstown City has been called into the squad for the first time.
Australia lie second in Group D on two points after a scoreless draw against Iran in Tehran followed by the 1-1 draw against Jordan last week in Adelaide. Saudi Arabia sit atop the group on six points with Iran and Jordan each on one point.
The squad for the match against Saudi Arabia on March 28 is:
Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory), Mark Bridge (Newcastle Jets), Nathan Burns (Adelaide United), Adam D'Apuzzo (Newcastle Jets), Bruce Djite (Adelaide United), Ben Griffin (Queensland Roar), Troy Hearfield (Newcastle Jets), Neil Kilkenny (Birmingham City, England), Vince Lia (Melbourne Victory), Adrian Leijer (Melbourne Victory), Philip Makrys (Bankstown City, NSW), Trent McClenahan (Hereford United, England), Mark Milligan (Sydney FC), Jason Naidovski (AIS), Kristian Sarkies (Melbourne Victory), Nikolai Topor-Stanley (Sydney FC), Tando Velaphi (Perth Glory), Dario Vidosic (Queensland Roar), Danny Vukovic (Central Coast Mariners), Nick Ward (Brighton & Hove Albion, England, loan from QPR, England), David Williams (Brondby, Denmark), Ruben Zadkovich (Sydney FC)
The 22-strong squad will also see Adelaide-based duo Robert Cornthwaite and Peter Eleftherakis join the squad for training purposes.
Group D consists of Australia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Jordan and will conclude on June 6.
The top two teams will progress to the third and final stage of qualifying, where 12 nations will be split into three groups.
The third stage will be held from August 22 - November 21, with only the three group winners representing Asia at the Beijing Olympic Games.
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Fixtures:- Round 2 - Match Day 1 - (Away) Wednesday 28 February 2007 Iran v Australia - 0-0
Round 2 - Match Day 2 - (Home) Wednesday 14 March 2007 Australia v Jordan - 1-1
Round 2 - Match Day 3 - (Home) Wednesday 28 March 2007 Australia v Saudi Arabia Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Round 2 - Match Day 4 - (Away) Wednesday 18 April 2007 Saudi Arabia v Australia Damman City
Round 2 - Match Day 5 - (Home) Wednesday 16 May 2007 Australia v Iran Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide
Round 2 - Match Day 6 - (Away) Wednesday 6 June 2007 Jordan v Australia Venue to be confirmed
Click on the following link for more information on the Qantas Under 23s, including player profiles: http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/default.aspx?s=aus_mensu23s