Wright surprise inclusion in Australia Cup squad
Sydney: Coach Ange Postecoglou named Preston North End`s Bailey Wright as a surprise selection in Australia`s inexperienced provisional 30-man World Cup squad Wednesday.
The 21-year-old English-based central defender, who has yet to play for his country, was one of two unexpected picks, along with Fortuna Dusseldorf forward Ben Halloran.
Only eight players -- Tim Cahill, Josh Kennedy, Mark Milligan, Mile Jedinak, Mark Bresciano, Luke Wilkshire, Eugene Galekovic and Dario Vidosic -- remain from the squad that went to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup.
Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, former captain and defender Lucas Neill, forward Harry Kewell and midfielders Brett Emerton and Brett Holman have all announced their international retirements in recent times, leaving the Socceroos in a state of transition.
"The squad has been selected with form and fitness as key indicators as well as having one eye on the future," said Postecoglou.
"We face a formidable challenge in Brazil but it is also a big opportunity and we head to the World Cup with no barriers as we look to write a new chapter in our rich football history."
Australia will face reigning world champions Spain, the Netherlands and Chile in Group B. Chile are their first opponents in Curitiba on June 13 with the squad heading to Brazil on May 28.
Their final 23-man squad will be named on June 2.
Defenders: Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney/AUS), Curtis Good (Newcastle United/ENG), Bailey Wright (Preston North End/ENG), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo/NED), Luke Wilkshire (Dynamo Moscow/RUS), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors/KOR), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng/CHN)
Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace/ENG), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory/AUS), James Holland (Austria Vienna/AUT), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town/ENG), Adam Sarota (FC Utrecht/NED), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern/SUI), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar/AUS), Mark Bresciano (Al-Gharafa/QAT), Josh Brilliante (Newcastle Jets/AUS)
Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls/USA), Josh Kennedy (Nagoya Grampus/JPN), Tom Rogic (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Dario Vidosic (Sion/SUI), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht/NED), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory/AUS), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf/GER), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets/AUS), Matthew Leckie.