MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 06: Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou speaks to the media during a press conference at on September 6, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Ange Postecoglou has named a preliminary 30-man squad for Australia's crunch play-off games against Syria and has made a surprise recall ahead of the tie.

30-year-old Nikita Rukavytsya was the surprise inclusion to the squad that is largely a tried-and-tested side in a must-win tie for the Socceroos.

Rukavytsya last appeared in the green and gold in 2014 and since leaving the Western Sydney Wanderers in 2015, he has played in Israel with Maccabi Haifa, scoring four goals in seven appearances this season.

Aziz Behich, Mark Birighitti, Craig Goodwin and James Jeggo have all been recalled, as has Mile Jedinak despite concerns over his fitness.

22 of the 23 players who were in the side for qualifiers against Japan and Thailand have been retained with Matthew Spiranovic the only omission.

“There is a short turnaround from the last matches so we are fully focused on these upcoming fixtures against Syria,” Postecoglou said.

“The players that we have selected for these crucial matches all have the benefit of several club matches under their belts over the past few weeks, and I am confident whichever 23 players we settle on will be able to do the job next month.

“Now that the match venues have been confirmed, we will prepare for our fixtures against Syria just like every other international opposition we faced throughout this campaign.

The players will arrive in Malacca, Malaysia from Sunday 1 October 2017.



Mat Ryan, Mitch Langerak, Danny Vukovic, Mark Birighitti


Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Mathew Jurman, Ryan McGowan, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Bailey Wright


Mustafa Amini, Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Mile Jedinak, James Jeggo, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Awer Mabil, Mark Milligan, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic, James Troisi


Tim Cahill, Tomi Juric, Jamie Maclaren, Nikita Rukavytsya