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Oct 3, 2012

Osieck keeps faith in senior players

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has named a relatively unchanged squad to face Iraq in a must-win World Cup Qualifier on October 16.

Australia will travel to Doha, Qatar for the match, with Osieck making three changes to the side that suffered a 2-1 defeat against Jordan last month.

The most notable absentee from the 22-man squad is David Carney, who is currently clubless after being released from Bunyodkor in September. Defenders Sasa Ognenovski and Jason Davidson were left out as they recover from injury, replaced by Tommy Oar and Carl Valeri.

Melbourne Victory defender Mark Milligan returns to the Socceroos squad after serving a one-match international ban following his red card in the World Cup Qualifier against Japan.

Osieck is expected to keep a similar starting to line-up to the team that faced Jordan, although he will need to replace Ognenovski and Carney in the first XI.

Liverpool goalkeeper Brad Jones retained his place in the squad ahead of Reading's Adam Federici who is struggling to find form in the Premier League.

Australia currently sits in third place of Asian qualifying Group B, with two draws and one loss from their opening three matches, adding even more pressure on the senior side.

"We know we are in a very special situation right now," Osieck said.

"This has become a crucial game but I'm very confident with the players available we can do it and get the points that we need.

"I have to be very critical. I expect in particular from what you call senior players the guidance for the entire group and I will get that pretty clearly across when we have the opening of the camp in Doha.

"It's not enough to enter the pitch and do some stuff and after the final whistle you are relieved of your duties. It's ongoing, starting from the moment we arrive in our hotel to when we depart."

The match against Iraq will take place in Doha, Qatar at 1:15am (AEST) on October 16.

Australia's squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones, Robbie Kruse, Mitch Langerak, Ryan McGowan, Matthew McKay, Mark Milligan, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Adam Sarota, Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Spiranovic, Archie Thompson, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire.

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