Socceroos facing NZ without familiar faces

·2-min read

The Socceroos will face a New Zealand side without some familiar A-League names in their two World Cup send-off matches this month.

Newcastle United striker Chris Wood and Empoli full-back Liberato Cacace lead the 24-man squad named by All Whites coach Danny Hay on Monday.

But there's no Clayton Lewis or Sarpreet Singh, sidelined through injury, Kosta Barbarouses, who will miss with suspension, or Marco Rojas.

The trans-Tasman rivals play in Brisbane on September 22 and Auckland on September 25, which will be the first match for New Zealand on home soil in three years.

"The majority of the squad have never represented the All Whites in New Zealand," Hay said.

"The players are absolutely buzzing for this. It has been so long since we played at home ... this is going to be a proud moment for everyone."

There are nine Europe-based players in the squad and seven from the A-League, including four from Wellington Phoenix.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will name his squad on Wednesday.

New Zealand's last match was the inter-continental World Cup playoff in June, when Costa Rica edged the Kiwis 1-0 for a place in Qatar.

Hay said Rojas, at Chile's Colo-Colo, would be best served staying in South America to break into the first team.

"He's so important in terms of what he's doing over there, creating pathways for Kiwi footballers," Hay said.

While Australia will use the matches as a springboard to the World Cup, beginning in November, New Zealand will head into hiatus following the series.

Hay said the governing body were feeling the pinch from missing Qatar and weren't likely to play again until March.

"There was more than just getting to the World Cup in that game against Costa Rica. The $16million was a big factor and it was a big part of New Zealand Football's financial planning," he said.

The matches could also be Hay's last at the helm, with a contract expiring at month's end.

The 47-year-old said it was undecided whether he'd stay on, but he felt he had more to offer in the role.

"We'll have time to sit down on how everything's gone and then make some decisions," he said.

Hay was controversially chosen for the role ahead of Des Buckingham, who led New Zealand to a win against Erling Haaland-led Norway at the 2019 Under-19 World Cup.


Goalkeepers: Alex Paulsen, Oli Sail, Michael Woud

Defenders: Kyle Adams, Michael Boxall, Liberato Cacace, Dane Ingham, Tim Payne, Nando Pijnaker, Winston Reid, Storm Roux, Bill Tuiloma, Deklan Wynne

Midfielders: Joe Bell, Matt Garbett, Cam Howieson, Ben Old, Marko Stamenic

Forwards: Andre de Jong, Alex Greive, Elijah Just, Callum McCowatt, Ben Waine, Chris Wood