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Mar 12, 2013

Schwarzer to lead Socceroos

Mark Schwarzer will take over as captain of the Socceroos for what coach Holger Osieck describes as a must-win World Cup qualifier against Oman in Sydney on March 26.

Veteran goalkeeper Schwarzer will lead the side onto Stadium Australia in the absence of suspended regular skipper Lucas Neill.

Overseas-based players Tim Cahill, Mile Jedinak, Tommy Oar and Tom Rogic return to the 23-man squad named on Wednesday after missing last month's friendly against Romania.

Among the central defensive options to replace Neill are Jade North, Michael Thwaite and Mark Milligan, who are among six A-League players named in the squad, and UAE-based Dino Djulbic.

Australia head into the game in second spot in the World Cup Asian qualifying tournament's Group B, eight points behind runaway leader Japan, who have played one game more.

The Socceroos are level on points with Iraq and Oman and just one point ahead of Jordan.

Osieck took issue with a suggestion a win against Oman was not crucial.

"It is crucial. It is decisive and we can't jeopardise anything," Osieck said.

"We have to go full speed. We have to win it. There's no ifs and buts and I don't allow any discussions."

Neill apart, midfielder Carl Valeri is also unavailable due to suspension and Osieck nominated Mile Jedinak and James Holland as possibilities to replace him.

Among the notable exclusions is Socceroo stalwart Brett Emerton, though Osieck stressed the Sydney FC midfielder remained on his radar.

Central defender Matthew Spiranovic and goalkeeper Adam Federici were among those not considered for the squad due to injury.

Socceroos squad: Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, Robert Cornthwaite, Dino Djulbic, Eugene Galekovic, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, Ryan McGowan, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Mathew Ryan, Mark Schwarzer (capt), Archie Thompson, Michael Thwaite, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams, Michael Zullo

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