Australia will be without one of their key players for the World Cup qualifier against the United Arab Emirates, with Tom Razic leaving the team for personal reasons.
The attacking midfielder, leaving Celtic almost a decade after the Scottish champions, was seen as an important part of Socrates’ attack for the upcoming matches.
Australia have a friendly match against Kuwait over the weekend before the sudden-death match against the UAE next Wednesday morning. If they win, they will play Peru to get a place in the World Cup.
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“My focus now should be on our players in Qatar,” said coach Graham Arnold.
“We have selected an extended squad of quality players and I believe we will achieve something special for Australia in the next two weeks.”
The reason for Rajik’s withdrawal was not immediately clear, but a statement from Football Australia did not elaborate on “personal reasons”.
If Australia qualifies for Qatar, their group for the November / December tournament has already been decided, with 29 out of 32 countries already confirmed.
They will play France and Denmark, who were opponents in the 2018 World Cup, as well as African qualifier Tunisia.
But after a disappointing campaign so far it seems a world away. Australia got off to a great start in the final qualifying round, but left them on the play-off route to finish better than both Saudi Arabia and Japan.
The match against the UAE will start at 4 am on Wednesday, June 8.
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