Hibs striker Maclaren axed from Australia World Cup squad
Sydney, May 15 (AFP) In-form Hibernian striker Jamie Maclaren was axed from Australia's World Cup squad Tuesday as coach Bert van Marwijk trimmed it to 26 players, with Bristol City skipper Bailey Wright also cut.
Long-term backup goalkeeper Mitch Langerak was another to miss out in the cut to the initial 32 selected last week, along with Alex Gersbach, Apostolos Giannou, and Aleksandar Susnjar.
But Tim Cahill and fellow veteran Mark Milligan made the grade, keeping them on track for a fourth appearance at the football showpiece in Russia.
"It is always a challenging task to reduce a squad, however this is the nature of professional sport at the highest level," said van Marwijk.
"Overall, I believe we have named a strong and ambitious squad for our training camp in Turkey and friendly against the Czech Republic in Austria."
The Socceroos link-up for their training camp in Antalya on Sunday ahead of the clash with the Czech Republic in St Polten on June 1.
They also face Hungary in a warm-up match in Budapest on June 9 before heading to Russia.
"I am sure that in training in Antalya, and in our match against the Czech Republic, we will see players pushing to go to a higher level as they compete for a place in the final squad," added Dutchman van Marwijk.
Maclaren's omission was the most controversial, having scored a hat-trick at the weekend for Hibs in their 5-5 draw with Rangers.
It leaves 38-year-old Cahill and Swiss-based Tomi Juric as the two recognised strikers in the squad, although the highly-rated and uncapped Daniel Arzani kept his place.
The 19-year-old is also eligible to play for Iran, but appears to be locking in his international future with Australia.
One other uncapped player, defender Fran Karacic, also remains in contention