Thompson expected to return to Socceroos

December 20, 2009
By Guy Hand

Striker Archie Thompson is set to return from nearly a year in the international wilderness, while Brisbane Roar teenager Tommy Oar looms as the bolter in the Socceroos squad for next month's Asian Cup qualifier against Kuwait.

Thompson, Roar defender Craig Moore and Gold Coast's Jason Culina are expected to headline the squad of predominantly A-League players blended with available overseas-based talent to be named on Tuesday.

The surprise may be 18-year-old left-sided star Oar, who has reportedly impressed national coach Pim Verbeek during a stellar season for the Roar.

Oar is a rocket - his pace igniting the Roar going forward and playing a major role in Brisbane's resurgence into the A-League top four.

Socceroo regulars Moore and Culina are certain starters for the 23-man squad to play Kuwait in Kuwait City on January 6.

But Thompson is in line for his first Socceroos call-up since two forgettable Asian Cup qualifiers in February and March.

His performance in one of those matches was decried by Verbeek as "absolutely hopeless", though the Dutchman has thawed noticeably recently when discussing giving Thompson another chance to press his World Cup ambitions.

The Victory star was in superb creative touch in his side's unlucky 0-0 A-League draw with Sydney FC last weekend, though he squandered several chances to score.

Sydney FC star Alex Brosque is also tipped for a call-up, while Perth Glory trio Chris Coyne, Jacob Burns and Mile Sterjovski will hope for inclusion to press their World Cup claims.

Despite the Kuwait match not falling on a FIFA international date, the squad for the crucial qualifier is also likely to contain six to eight overseas-based players.

But there will be no English Premier League stars like Tim Cahill or Mark Schwarzer, who have a hectic club schedule over the Christmas-New Year period.

The squad will start assembling for a week-long training camp in Dubai from December 27 ahead of the Kuwait match.

The Socceroos sit equal top of Group B with Kuwait, and victory would virtually secure them a place at the 2011 Asian Cup finals.

The top two teams qualify, with the Socceroos' final group match against Indonesia on March 3 in Brisbane.