Socceroos begin new era

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The first glimpse into a new era for the Socceroos will be offered tomorrow with the naming of a squad for next week’s friendly match against Slovenia.

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Australia will face their fellow World Cup finalists in Ljubljana next Wednesday in their first match since just failing to progress from their group in South Africa.

The match is also the first of the post-Pim Verbeek era, with technical director Han Berger chosen to oversee the squad as caretaker coach alongside newly-appointed assistant coach Aurelio Vidmar as the search for a new mentor continues.

Despite the tricky timing of the fixture, it is believed Berger will name a strong European-based squad for the match, which begins Australia’s build-up to January’s Asian Cup in Qatar.

It’s understood A-League players will not be considered due to their season kicking off this weekend while Premier League stars including Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer and Brett Emerton would also be unlikely to feature with their season kicking off just a few days later.

But with the start of other European seasons more staggered, the squad could still feature several first-team regulars and others who will be looking to put themselves in contention to play in Qatar.

The Socceroos’ squad will take a new shape in the coming months following the retirements of veterans such as Craig Moore and Scott Chipperfield and several others weighing up their national team future.

It was originally hoped a successor for Verbeek, who stepped down after South Africa, would be in place before next week’s friendly but FFA chief executive Ben Buckley said on Monday a new coach would be announced “soon”.

Among the more recent names to have been linked to the vacant coaching role are Frenchman Paul Le Guen and Argentine Marcelo Bielsa.

Australia also has friendlies against Switzerland and Poland slated for September with matches against Chile, Egypt and UAE also planned in a busy lead-up to the Asian Cup.

Slovenia also just missed progression to the knockout stages in South Africa having beaten Algeria, drawing against the US and losing to England.