Jamie Maclaren finally World Cup bound as Aussies name their squad

Jamie Maclaren's World Cup dream will finally be realised after months of torment as he was named in the Australian squad which will face France, Denmark and Peru in Russia later this month.
Bags packed: Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren is finally off to the World CupBags packed: Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren is finally off to the World Cup
Bags packed: Hibs striker Jamie Maclaren is finally off to the World Cup

The Hibs striker, scorer of eight goals in 15 games after joining on loan from German club SV Darmstadt in January, has drifted in and out of the thoughts of Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk ever since the Dutchman was placed in charge for the tournament.

Initially named for two warm-up friendlies against Norway and Colombia in March, Maclaren found himself out in the cold and his dream of representing his country at the World Cup appeared to be over when his name was missing as Van Marwijk unveiled his squad which would head to Turkey to prepare for the competition.

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His exclusion, the day after he'd scored a hat-trick in an epic 5-5 draw with Rangers in the final game of the Ladbrokes Premiership season, caused an uproar Down Under, Maclaren seen as Australia's most in-form striker.

However, an injury doubt over Swiss-based Tomi Juric resulted in Maclaren being given a last-minute call, winning his sixth cap as a second-half substitute as the Aussies crushed the Czech Republic 4-0 on Friday. And he's done enough to convince Van Marwijk of his worth as he trimmed his squad by four players.

Maclaren is one of five forwards – including Juric and the 38-year-old Tim Cahill who, the coach admitted was "a special case" as he aims to play in his fourth World Cup finals – in the 23-man squad.

Australia will spend this week training back in Turkey before a final warm-up match with Hungary in Budapest on Saturday, their first Group C match against France coming a week later in Kazan.

Australia squad:

Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Brighton, England), Brad Jones (Feyenoord, Netherlands), Danny Vukovic (Genk, Belgium)

Defenders: Josh Risdon (Western Sydney Wanderers), Trent Sainsbury (Grasshopper Zurich, Switzerland), Matthew Jurman (Suwon Samsung Bluewings, Korea), Aziz Behich (Bursaspor, Turkey), Mark Milligan (Al Ahli, Saudi Arabia), Milos Degenek (Yokohama F Marinos, Japan), James Meredith (Millwall, England)

Midfield: Aaron Mooy (Huddersfield Town, England), Tom Rogic (Celtic, Scotland), Massimo Luongo (QPR, England), Mile Jedinak (Aston Villa, England), Dimitri Petratos (Newcastle Jets), Jackson Irvine (Hull City, England), Matthew Leckie (Hertha BSC, Germany), Daniel Arzani (Melbourne City)

Forwards: Tim Cahill (Millwall, England), Tomi Juric (Luzern, Switzerland), Jamie Maclaren (Hibernian, Scotland), Andrew Nabbout (Urawa Red Diamonds, Japan), Robbie Kruse (Bochum, Germany)

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