Kennedy back for Socceroos
Socceroos coach Holger Osieck has recalled towering forward Josh Kennedy for the crunch June World Cup qualifiers against Japan, Jordan and Iraq.
The Nagoya Grampus striker has long been missing from the national setup due to a back injury but returns to Osieck's 26-man squad as Australia desperately search for the points needed to book their ticket to Brazil 2014.
National captain Lucas Neill also returns to the squad after serving his suspension, while the German tactician decided to place his faith in the domestic league by incorporating seven A-League players.
Qatar-based Sasa Ognenovski earns a recall despite last playing for the national team last September, with Osieck likely to reunite Ognenovski and Neill in the heart of the defence after the squad's poor showing against Oman.
"You have to have a look at the situation," Osieck said. "Against Oman, we were in a particular situation and I gave two boys the opportunity to play who never play on the international level in regards to qualifying.
"Cornthwaite had some good games ... I thought he would be ready. Same with Michael Thwaite ... he left a good impression on me.
"But I was fully aware of the fact they were playing with eachother for the first time ... but that shouldn't be explained as blame (of them) from my side. If anyone is to be blamed, it is me, because I opted for this.
"They (Neill and Ognenovski) have played together for a number of games. They have the experience. They have the special quality to offer to the team. What is significant is they ... know what's at stake, what's demanded, in Japan with a big stadium, decent crowd, we need that mental strength."
Australia currently sits equal third in Group B with Oman on six points, albeit with a game in hand, while Jordan occupy second a point above.
Japan (13 points) can wrap up top spot in the group and earn qualification with a win over the Socceroos on June 4.
Socceroos' 26-man squad:
Mark Bresciano, Alex Brosque, Tim Cahill, Robert Cornthwaite, Ivan Franjic, Eugene Galekovic, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Josh Kennedy, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak, Ryan Mcgowan, Matthew Mckay, Mark Milligan, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Sasa Ognenovski, Tom Rogic, Mark Schwarzer, Archie Thompson, Michael Thwaite, Dario Vidosic, Luke Wilkshire, Michael Zullo