THE task of cutting three players from his 30-man World Cup squad today has been made slightly easier for Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, with a hip flexor injury set to rule out defender Curtis Good.
The Newcastle United player has not played since suffering the injury on his Socceroos debut in a friendly against Ecuador in London on March 5.
Just last week Postecoglou said Good was "no chance" of playing in last night's game against South Africa in Sydney, but said: "He's on schedule and we'll give him every chance to be right (for Brazil) - the physios are happy with his progress".
That happiness turned to disappointment on Friday when the 21-year-old was unable to complete a training session and may now need surgery.
Good's absence, combined with Postecoglou's decision to call time on the international careers of veteran defenders Lucas Neill and Sasa Ognenovski, will open the door for rookie Bailey Wright, who plays for
English third tier club Preston North, to book his ticket to Brazil.
Good is the fourth player who would have been headed to the World Cup before injuries intervened. Trent Sainsbury (knee), Rhys Williams (achilles) and Robbie Kruse (knee) are already on the absentee list.
The injuries open the way for China-based defender Ryan McGowan to partner Western Sydney's Matthew Spiranovic in the key defensive posts.
Melbourne Victory captain Mark Milligan, who went to the past two World Cups in Germany and South Africa but did not receive any game time, could also be considered as a candidate for centre-back with his experience.
The other players under injury clouds are keeper Mitch Langerak (knee) and rising midfield star Tom Rogic (groin), but both are expected to be passed fit.
Apart from Good, the other players likely to miss out on the 27-man squad are keeper Mark Birighitti and midfielder Josh Brillante, both from the Newcastle Jets.
With former Mariners gloveman Mat Ryan completing an outstanding season in Belgium, he will be the No.1 keeper with Eugene Galekovic and Langerak the back-ups.
The squad, which leaves for Brazil tomorrow, will be further reduced to the final 23 on June 2.
The Socceroos will have their final warm-up match against Croatia on June 7, before their first group match against Chile on June 14.
Keepers: Mat Ryan, Eugene Galekovic, Mitch Langerak;
Defenders: Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, Ryan McGowan, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Wilkinson, Luke Wilkshire, Bailey Wright;
Midfielders: Oliver Bozanic, Mark Bresciano, James Holland, Mile Jedinak (c), Massimo Luongo, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Adam Sarota, James Troisi, Dario Vidosic;
Forwards: Tim Cahill, Ben Halloran, Josh Kennedy, Matthew Leckie, Adam Taggart.