Experienced attackers Craig Goodwin and Mitch Duke have returned to the Socceroos’ starting line-up for their Asian Cup quarter-final against South Korea.
Coach Graham Arnold swung four changes, with Goodwin and Duke back after returning from knee and hamstring injuries respectively via the bench in the round-of-16 win over Indonesia, replacing Jordy Bos and Bruno Fornaroli.
Connor Metcalfe replaces Riley McGree in midfield while Nathaniel Atkinson is starting at right-back in place of Gethin Jones, who came off with a groin issue against Indonesia.
The winners of Friday’s (Saturday AEDT) clash at the Al Janoub Stadium, will face Jordan in the semi-final following their 1-0 victory over Tajikistan earlier in the day.
Aggressive striker Duke had insisted he was ready to start and the 33-year-old’s inclusion is in line with Arnold’s promise to press South Korea and get in their faces.
Goodwin scored and delivered an assist off the bench in the round of 16 against Indonesia, while Atkinson and Metcalfe both provided attacking sparks when they entered the fray as substitutes.
The back four of Atkinson, Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles and Aziz Behich is the same defence that started Australia’s 2022 World Cup opener against France.
They will face a stern challenge with superstar South Korea skipper Son Heung-min joined in attack by Lee Kang-in, Cho Gue-sung and Hwang Hee Chan.
While Jones was cleared of serious injury, he was left out of the squad altogether along with defender Thomas Deng, who is returning from illness, and uncapped striker John Iredale.
SOCCEROOS STARTING LINE-UP AGAINST SOUTH KOREA
Mat Ryan (GK) (C); Nathaniel Atkinson, Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles, Aziz Behich; Keanu Baccus, Jackson Irvine, Connor Metcalfe; Martin Boyle, Craig Goodwin, Mitch Duke.