SYDNEY (AP) — Forward Harry Kewell, fighting a persistent groin injury, has been picked for Australia's preliminary World Cup roster.
Coach Pim Verbeek selected 31 players Tuesday, including Adelaide United goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, who is not on the official 30-man roster submitted to FIFA. Teams must cut to 23 by June 1.
Gold Coast midfielder Jason Culina is the only other player with an Australian club.
Verbeek said he was confident that Kewell, who plays for Galatasaray in Turkey, would be fit for the Socceroos' opener against Germany on June 13.
"There are rumors, there are opinions, but Harry will be ready," Verbeek said Tuesday. "The medical staff and Harry himself convinced me that Harry will be OK. "We still have five weeks to prepare for the first game against Germany, so don't worry, Harry will be there."
Fourteen players are veterans of the 2006 World Cup roster, including Kewell, captain Lucas Neill, Michael Beauchamp, Mark Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina, Brett Emerton, Vince Grella, Joshua Kennedy, Mark Milligan, Craig Moore, Mark Schwarzer and Luke Wilkshire.
Also included was 18-year-old Tommy Oar, who recently signed a contract with Dutch club Utrecht.
Mark Bresciano, Brett Emerton and Vince Grella are also fighting injuries, but all were selected.
Before the World Cup, Australia has an exhibition against the United States on June 5 in Roodepoort, South Africa. The game could feature some intriguing matchups: U.S midfielder Clint Dempsey could face Schwarzer, his starting goalkeeper on Fulham. Cahill could face Tim Howard, his starting goalkeeper on Everton, and midfielder Landon Donovan, who played 13 matches on loan to Everton from Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy during January-March.
At the World Cup, Australia also plays Ghana on June 19 and Serbia on June 23.
Goalkeepers: Adam Federici (Reading, England), Brad Jones (Middlesbrough, England), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United), Mark Schwarzer (Fulham, England)
Defenders: Michael Beauchamp (Al-Jazira, United Arab Emirates), David Carney (Twente, Netherlands), Scott Chipperfield (Basel, Switzerland), Shane Lowry (Aston Villa, England), Mark Milligan (JEF United, Japan), Craig Moore (no club), Lucas Neill (Galatasaray, Turkey), Jade North (Tromso, Norway), Luke Wilkshire (Dinamo Moscow, Russia), Rhys Williams (Middlesbrough, England)
Midfielders: Mark Bresciano (Palermo, Italy), Tim Cahill (Everton, England), Nicky Carle (Crystal Palace, England), Jason Culina (Gold Coast), Brett Emerton (Blackburn Rovers, England), Richard Garcia (Hull, England), Vince Grella (Blackburn Rovers, England), James Holland (Alkmaar, Netherlands), Brett Holman (Alkmaar, Netherlands), Mile Jedinak (Antalyaspor Kulubu, Turkey), Tommy Oar (Utrecht, Netherlands), Carl Valeri (Sassuolo, Italy)
Forwards: Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus, Japan), Harry Kewell (Galatasaray, Turkey), Scott McDonald (Middlesbrough, England), Nikita Rukavytsya (Twente, Netherlands), Dario Vidosic (Nuremberg, Germany)