Tom Razic withdraws from Socceroos World Cup qualifiers

Australia’s hopes of reaching the fifth World Cup in a row have been shattered by the withdrawal of star midfielder Tom Razik from the Sucrose squad.

The 29-year-old, who has been without a club since leaving Celtic for the Scottish Giants’ 10th league title win in the last 11 seasons, cited personal reasons as the reason for his withdrawal.

The move would allow coach Graham Arnold to win next week’s Asian play-off against the United Arab Emirates in Qatar without one of his main offensive weapons.

A game against Peru will begin next week to secure a place in the November World Cup as a result of the clash in Doha on 7 June (June 8 at 4am AEST).

“My focus right now is on our players in Qatar,” Arnold said.

“We have selected an extended squad of quality players and I believe we will achieve something special for Australia in the next two weeks.”

Socceroos officials will not be calling for Raziq’s replacement, reducing the squad to 28 players for the upcoming match.

Raziq was recalled when he and other leading players were unavailable at the most recent Sucrose camp in March, COVID-19, due to injury and personal reasons.

Missing a number of big names, the Sakaras suffered successive defeats to Japan and Saudi Arabia in that window, depriving them of automatic qualification and forcing them to the playoffs.

The rest of the Australian squad is meeting with the Scouts in Doha to face Jordan in a friendly on Wednesday (4am AEST).

Arnold has said he will use the warm-up fixture to sharpen his squad before the play-offs by giving game time to players who have not appeared in recent weeks.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates finalized their preparations with a 1-1 draw against the African nation Gambia in Dubai on Monday.


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