Ange cuts seven for Cup qualifiers
ANGE Postecoglou has confirmed his 23-man squad for the Socceroos' World Cup qualifiers against Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, cutting seven players.
Alex Gersbach and Awer Mabil were among those cut from the provisional squad, leaving three uncapped wildcards - 18-year-old Riley McGree, Mustafa Amini and Sydney FC's Rhyan Grant - as the biggest surprises for the games in Tehran on March 23 and Sydney on March 28.
"We've come up with a good strong squad that has a mix of experience, form and players who are playing regular football," Postecoglou said of his squad, which includes A-League star James Troisi.
"I was pleased with the collective game time the squad got through over the weekend and (they) come into camp playing well.
"We face two important games in five days and it's good to welcome back some guys who have been out of the squad for different lengths of time for various reasons and I'm confident the group we've selected will be ready to hit the ground running.
"There are a lot of important matches in what shapes as a crucial year for the team, but the focus for us is simply Iraq on Thursday week and then the UAE in Sydney on March 28."
The green and gold enter the clashes in an awkward position in their bid to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, with Australia outside the top two automatic qualifying positions in Asia's Group B, behind Saudi Arabia and Japan.
They lead the group on 10 points, with Australia and UAE tied on nine.
The third placed side will have to face third in Group A for the right to then face the fourth-placed Central and North American side for a place at the World Cup.
Uzbekistan is currently third in Group A, a point behind Korea Republic and two points behind Iran.
Australia's next opponent, Iraq, which will host Australia in "neutral" territory in Iran, is way back in Group B on three points, but the Socceroos will have learnt to tread carefully after dropping points in Bangkok in a 2-2 draw to round out 2016 in disappointing fashion.