3 get first call-ups for Australia against SKorea


SYDNEY (AP) -Serbia-based Eli Babalj has been named on his first Australia squad while goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and Luke Wilkshere will also return from Europe after being named in the national side for a Nov. 14 friendly against South Korea in Hwaseong.

The 20-year-old Babalj of Red Star Belgrade will be joined by Tom Rogic of the A-League's Central Coast Mariners and the Melbourne Heart's Aziz Behich as the three first-timers named by Australia coach Holger Osieck in the 19-man squad.

The South Korea match will serve as preparation for next month's East Asian Cup qualifiers, where it is expected that Osieck will rely heavily on young and Australia-based talent.

South Korea is 25th in current FIFA rankings while Australia is 34th.

In Asian World Cup qualifying for 2014, South Korea leads Group A with wins against Qatar (4-1) and Lebanon (3-0), a draw against Uzbekistan (2-2) and a loss to Iran (0-1).

Australia is in second place in Group B with a win against Iraq (2-1), draws against Oman (0-0) and Japan (1-1) and a loss to Jordan (1-2) at the halfway point of the final round of the Asian qualifiers.


Australia squad: Eli Babalj, Aziz Behich, Alex Brosque, James Holland, Mathew Leckie, Ryan McGowan, Matt McKay, Lucas Neill, Tommy Oar, Tom Rogic, Nikita Rukavytsya, Mathew Ryan, Adam Sarota, Mark Schwarzer, Matthew Spiranovic, Archie Thompson, Michael Thwaite, Carl Valeri, Luke Wilkshire.

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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