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08 May 2018, 12:47 | Susie Olson
Daniel Arzani has been named in the Socceroos squad
The most surprising addition to the Socceroos preliminary World Cup squad is a Croatian-born defender who is yet to step foot in the nation he will represent.
Karacic joins Melbourne City teenager Daniel Arzani as the bolters in the preliminary 32-man squad named on Monday that will be likely be trimmed to 26 names by mid May before the final 23 players will be selected by June 4.
Despite starring for Australia at previous World Cups, Cahill - at the age of 38 - was in some doubt to be named.
Cahill was among 32 players picked in an expanded training squad, announced by coach Bert van Marwijk on Monday, but the veteran forward faces an anxious wait before knowing whether he will make the final cut for Russian Federation.
Van Marwijk said he would give Karacic every chance to earn a position in the 26 or 27-man squad he will take to Turkey for a pre-World Cup training camp in a couple of weeks.
The 38-year-old Cahill is Australia's all-time leading scorer with 50 goals from 105 worldwide appearances, but he has struggled for form and match time in recent months. "He is playing in the highest division in Croatia", van Marwijk said.
"He is a special case. he is special in everything", van Marwijk said. He is a very good striker. He doesn't play (at the moment), maybe five or 10 or 20 minutes.
"I understand that there will be change and that (it) is also in the (World Cup) but I don't think that we don't discuss anymore situations when we have a video referee". "There are always players you are doubting a little bit, but there's also a lot of players who you're sure".
Arzani has enjoyed a prominent rise thanks to his domestic form for Melbourne City which has netted him the A-League's young player of the year award. The teenage winger, who is also eligible to play for Iran, could become the youngest Australian to play at a World Cup if he makes the final cut.
Van Marwijk said Karacic, who plays for Lokomotiva Zagreb in Croatia's top-tier league, was picked because Australia has a shortage of quality right backs. He's joined by Croatian born defender, Fran Karacic who is expected to add more defensive muscle to the squad. Alongside Western Sydney Wanderers' Josh Risdon and Sydney FC midfielder Josh Brillante, Karacic is one of three relatively inexperienced options van Marwijk is looking to fill the void.
The 38-year-old striker's spot has been a talking point, but he was included despite playing just 63 minutes in the Championship since his return to the club in January.
"We don't have a lot of choices for the right back position". Maclaren hasn't played for Australia since November and a qualifier against Thailand.
Australia face France, Denmark and Peru in Group C. They will play friendlies against Czech Republic and Hungary before their curtain-raiser in Russian Federation.
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