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Irankunda headlines undermanned Socceroos squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers


Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold has named an extended 25-man squad ahead of his side’s two FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers over the next fortnight.

Going against weaker opposition in Bangldesh and Palestine, Arnold has opted for a rotated squad with plenty of young Socceroos given a chance to prove their worth to the national side.

Amongst the new faces, the Bayern Munich-bound Nestory Irankunda has been named in the squad just days after he flirted with the prospect of playing for one of Tanzania or Burundi.

"As of now I'm not too sure on how things are gonna go," Irankunda said on Friday.

"I haven't been called up for a few of the squads now. I'm still thinking on what I want to do in the future on a national level. So we'll see.

"I'm still eligible for Tanzania and Burundi as well. But obviously, it's a dream of mine to play for the Socceroos and if the opportunity comes again then hopefully it comes soon and I take it."

Arnold has also called in Melbourne Victory hero Paul Izzo in for a potential debut, alongside Newcastle Jets star Apostolos Stamatelopoulos. Izzo’s debut call-up comes at the expense of skipper Maty Ryan who is being rested after a long season abroad.

Daniel Arzani has earned his long awaited recall to the side, whilst Central Coast Mariners Finals Series hero Josh Nisbet could be in line for his second cap.

Speaking on his selection choices, Arnold admitted whilst these games won’t affect Australia’s qualification to the next round he is not underestimating the importance of the international window.

“I’ve spoken about how important these two games are when it comes to official FIFA rankings, and while we’ve qualified for Round Three it’s important that we take all six points,” Arnold said.

“It’s an expectation we set ourselves as a group and as always, getting our mentality right will be crucial to securing two wins and giving ourselves the highest possible ranking ahead of the draw for Round Three.

“We've got several players who've had significant workloads in recent times, and it's important we give them a proper break. I want to ensure they’re physically and mentally prepared for another big 12-months of qualification.

“This has also allowed us to provide opportunities to players who have been performing well at their clubs as we continue to build depth right across the pitch.

“Our leadership group of Jackson (Irvine), Aziz (Behich) Mat (Leckie), Harry (Souttar) and Adam (Taggart) will have an important role to play throughout this camp in welcoming those players, as they demonstrate the core values that are central to the Socceroos’ culture.”

See the full squad below


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