Socceroos duo confirmed for return in must-win qualifier

Tomi Juric (left) is set to be fit for the final World Cup qualifier against Thailand.
Tomi Juric (left) is set to be fit for the final World Cup qualifier against Thailand. Matt Roberts

ASSIST king Aaron Mooy and leading scorer Tomi Juric will return for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier, labelled as the Socceroos' most important match in a decade.

Mark Milligan, a veteran of three World Cup, made the declaration ahead of the Thailand clash but remained confident of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup regardless of the route.

Mooy, who missed the Japan loss after falling ill, and Juric, who copped a knock for his Swiss club four days earlier but came off the bench, both trained with the squad on Sunday at AAMI Park.

Both players have started the season strongly and been Socceroos mainstays under Ange Postecoglou - Juric is Australia's leading scorer in qualifying while Mooy leads the assists - were almost certain to come into the XI.

"They (Mooy and Juric) are fine and ready to go. Both have been playing regularly and they are both fit so no problem," Postecoglou said.

"Aaron was due to start the last game, but obviously on the day of the game he didn't pull up. Tomi could have started as well, but he hadn't trained at all and we just felt that it was going to be too much of a risk for him to start."

Milligan, who captained Australia for the eighth time last Thursday, said the players have not lost faith in the game plan after the 2-0 loss to Japan adding Russia 2018 qualification failure had not crossed his mind.

With almost 30,000 fans set to pack AAMI Park, Milligan pleaded for Socceroos fans to back the team.

"It's just important on Tuesday night we get their full support because there's no more important game that I can recall over the last 10 years since we've been in Asia,'' Milligan said.

"It's not going to be easy but we'll come ready and we'll get the result needed. I still believe we will go through and we'll be fine.

"Going to consecutive World Cups has been very important not just for the national team but for Australian football, the A-League and lower leagues.

"I still truly believe that we will put in a good performance and whether it's Wednesday that it's announced that we're going to a World Cup or whether we have to wait a bit longer, it will happen.

"Obviously that's worst case scenario and there's a long wait before we have to hit that panic button."

Milligan said the players still had full faith in Postecoglou's philosophy.

"We see what it achieves when we do it well. We trust in each other and we think it's the best way going forward,'' he said.

"If that (trust) wasn't there then that's when you have to try and change, but the group definitely does have that."

Milligan, who spent two years in Japan with JEF United, said Japan would go full throttle away to Saudi Arabia despite having already qualified.

"Similar to what we would do, I don't think there's any way that if we were in their position we'd take a backwards step. I don't think they will," Milligan said.

"I don't think it's in their nature, I don't think it's in their culture to not give 100 per cent.

"We are fully committed on what we need to do on Tuesday night no matter what team they put over there, it'll be a full blooded performance."

Meanwhile, Melbourne City keeper Eugene Galekovic has been called up to the Socceroos squad to replace the injured Adam Federici.

Federici returns to the UK just days after signing a loan deal from Bournemouth to second tier Nottingham Forest.

Galekovic joined City after a decade-long stint with Adelaide United, including several years as captain.

Topics:  aaron mooy ange postecoglou mark milligan socceroos world cup 2018

News Corp Australia

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