Canberra, Sep 9 : Football Federation Australia (FFA) on Monday announced that Socceroos captain Mark Milligan has been ruled out of the Qatar World Cup qualification match against Kuwait with a minor leg injury.
Milligan, the 34-year-old veteran and former defender in Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua, has returned to his current English club Southend United, and has been replaced in Australia's squad by Melbourne Victory defender Thomas Deng.
"We didn't want to take any risks with Mark so we arranged for him to travel back to his club for ongoing care," said Graham Arnold, the head coach of the Australian men's national football team. According to FFA, Deng has been in previous national training camps in October and November last year and also a member of Australia's U-23 team.
"He has now arrived in Kuwait and will provide a great defensive option for our squad." added by Arnold. Australia will play the away match against Kuwait on Tuesday, which will be the Socceroos' opening match of the qualification campaign on the road to 2022 FIFA World Cup.
At this stage, a total of 40 teams will play across eight groups in the second round of Asian qualifiers. Eight group winners and the four best runners-up will qualify for the third round. (UNI-XINHUA)