Stamatelopoulos Earns Socceroos Call Up For June World Cup Qualifiers

Jets striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos has earned Socceroos selection ahead of the June World Cup qualifiers.

He was named today in the extended 25 man squad for Australia’s upcoming fixtures against Bangladesh and Palestine.

Socceroos captain Mat Ryan is one of several players who have been rested for this international window following a gruelling 18-months of both domestic and international football.

Head Coach Graham Arnold said he had carefully managed the individual needs of some players, which in turn opened up opportunities to emerging talent.

“We’ve got several players who’ve had significant workloads in recent times, and it’s important we give them a proper break. I want to ensure they’re physically and mentally prepared for another big 12-months of qualification,” Arnold said.

“This has also allowed us to provide opportunities to players who have been performing well at their clubs as we continue to build depth right across the pitch”

“Our leadership group of Jackson Irvine, Aziz Behich, Mat Leckie, Harry Souttar and Adam Taggart will have an important role to play throughout this camp in welcoming those players, as they demonstrate the core values that are central to the Socceroos’ culture.”

The call up caps off a remarkable year for 25-year-old Stamatelopoulos, who has achieved unheralded success since returning to Newcastle from a lengthy stint in Greece.

He just booted a club record 17 goals over the course of a single A-League men’s season, and last Friday scored twice for the men’s A-League All Stars in their 8 – 0 drubbing of an inexperienced Newcastle United outfit.

An international debut is now on the cards for Stamatelopoulos, who will assemble for camp in Thailand alongside Novocastrian and Socceroos mainstay Connor Metcalfe.

The Newcastle-born midfielder just helped FC St Pauli earn promotion to the Bundesliga, Germany’s top-tier football competition.

The Socceroos will travel to Bangladesh to face their hosts next Thursday night, before flying to Western Australia to meet Palestine on June 11.

The fixtures represent the final stage of Second Round Qualification for Australia, who have already secured their place in the Third Round following four consecutive wins during November 2023 and March 2024.

The side has been one of the best in the Asian Football Confederation throughout qualifying, currently undefeated with 15 goals scored and none conceded.

Graham Arnold said the upcoming matches were still extremely significant in shaping their path to the 2026 World Cup.

“I’ve spoken about how important these two games are when it comes to official FIFA rankings, and while we’ve qualified for Round Three it’s important that we take all six points,” Arnold said.

“It’s an expectation we set ourselves as a group and as always, getting our mentality right will be crucial to securing two wins and giving ourselves the highest possible ranking ahead of the draw for Round Three.”

Previous ArticleNext Article