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Australia turn to youth
Australia coach Pim Verbeek has turned to youth with some surprise inclusions as he announced his preliminary 30-man World Cup squad in Sydney on Tuesday.

Youngsters James Holland, Nikita Rukavytsya, Shane Lowry, Tommy Oar and Dario Vidosic will join a near-full strength complement of established Socceroos stars at a Melbourne training base ahead of Australia's first pre-World Cup friendly against New Zealand on May 24.

Germany 2006 squad member Michael Beauchamp has been called in from the cold as defensive cover after falling off the radar in recent years, while Hull City winger Richard Garcia is another fringe member whose inclusion could raise a few eyebrows.

There was no room for Mile Sterjovski, who played under Guus Hiddink in Germany and featured in many of Australia's qualifiers, and Sterjovski's Perth Glory team-mates Chris Coyne and Jacob Burns also missed out. Another A-League star expected to at least participate in the preliminary squad was Simon Colosimo, but his World Cup dream is over.

The contentious reserve centre back slots behind Lucas Neill and Craig Moore went to Beauchamp and versatile defenders Jade North and Mark Milligan ahead of Coyne, Colosimo and Asia-based Sasa Ognenovski and Eddy Bosnar, who had received late support from media and fans.

Holland, 20, has failed to break into the first team at Dutch club AZ Alkmaar this season, but Verbeek's Dutch connections may have helped the central midfielder over the line. Lowry has impressed in Leeds United's promotion campaign while on loan from Aston Villa. Rukavytsya and Vidosic have impressed after earning first team football on loan stints in Belgium and Germany respectively, while teenage winger Oar is most likely a selection for the future.

Brad Jones pipped Eugune Galekovic to the third goalkeeper slot behind Mark Schwarzer and Adam Federici, although Galekovic has been called into the training camp as a 31st player in case of injury to any of the other three 'keepers. Australia's most fiercely debated selection battle, that over the claims of attacking midfielders Nick Carle and Brett Holman, will rage on as both players were selected. They will compete for what will likely be one spot available on the plane to South Africa.

Aside from injured Leeds defender Patrick Kisnorbo and some potential fringe players, Verbeek's selection wasn't hampered by injury as first XI stars Harry Kewell and Mark Bresciano were included despite clouds over their ongoing fitness. The squad will be trimmed to 23 on June 1, but Verbeek said he would take three or four back up players to South Africa in case of injuries.

Australia 30-man preliminary World Cup squad:

Michael Beauchamp, Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Nick Carle, David Carney, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina, Brett Emerton, Adam Federici, Richard Garcia, Vince Grella, James Holland, Brett Holman, Mile Jedinak, Brad Jones, Josh Kennedy, Harry Kewell, Shane Lowry, Scott McDonald, Mark Milligan, Craig Moore, Lucas Neill, Jade North, Tommy Oar, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mark Schwarzer, Carl Valeri, Dario Vidosic, Luke Wilkshire, Rhys Williams

Adelaide United goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic has been selected as a 31st player as back-up to the three goalkeepers.
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