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Jul 19, 2013

Socceroos to be without Kennedy for Cup

The Socceroos will go into the East Asian Cup without Josh Kennedy after the striker's Japanese club refused to release him.

Kennedy was in a provisional squad named for the four-nation round-robin tournament which starts on Saturday in South Korea.

But Football Federation Australia confirmed on Friday night J-League club Nagoya Grampus refused to grant Kennedy permission to play for the Socceroos in the eight-day tournament.

Nagoya are entitled to do so, as the tournament is not held on FIFA-sanctioned dates.

However other J-League clubs have released players for the tournament, including all 23 members of the Japanese national team.

The Socceroos open their tournament on Saturday night against South Korea.

Australia's final 23-man squad contains 19 A-League players, and four from Asian clubs.

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck said this week the Kennedy stand-off so infuriated him and Australian officials that the team considered withdrawing from the tournament.

Australia play Japan next Thursday and their final match will be against China on July 28.

It is a tournament in which fringe players will get their chance to push for World Cup selection.

Japan will be without stars Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda, who gave Australia plenty of problems in their 1-1 World Cup qualifier draw last month.

South Korea will be without Bayer Leverkusen striker Son Heung-Min and English Premier League midfielder Ki Sung-Yueng.

With no Lucas Neill, Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill and company, Archie Thompson, Matt McKay, Jade North and Mark Milligan are the four most experienced Socceroos in the squad.

McKay, who has been playing left-back in first-choice Socceroos squads, is likely to be shifted to his regular midfield role for the Korea clash.

Newcastle youngster Craig Goodwin is tipped to come in at left-back for his international debut.

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