SYDNEY — Striker Harry Kewell, one of four Socceroos with injuries, was named Tuesday in the Australia squad for next month's World Cup in South Africa.
Coach Pim Verbeek said he was confident that Kewell, who has been out of his Galatasaray's lineup with a persistent groin injury, would be fit for Australia's opening Group D match against Germany in Durban on June 13.
Palermo midfielder Mark Bresciano (back) and Blackburn teammates Brett Emerton (knee) and Vince Grella (thigh) are also fighting injuries but were named in the squad and are expected to play.
The squad must be trimmed to 23 players by June 1.
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"There are rumors, there are opinions, but Harry will be ready," Verbeek said. "The medical staff and Harry himself convinced me that Harry will be OK.
"We still have five weeks to prepare for the first game against Germany, so don't worry, Harry will be there."
However, Verbeek said he would not consider using Kewell in a May 24 match in Melbourne against New Zealand, which is also South Africa-bound.
"Harry will not be ready for a game like that, it would be too much risk, especially for a player going up and down time zone differences," Verbeek said.
Verbeek, who will leave the Socceroos after the World Cup to take up a technical position in Moroccan football, said Kewell was a player who could perform without any preparation.
"He can do something special during a game and that's what I'm counting on," he said. "Harry is a special class and I will pick Harry and take him into the World Cup even if he's not fit yet."
Fourteen of the players selected played in Australia's 2006 team in Germany, when the Socceroos advanced to the second round before losing to eventual champion Italy. They are Kewell, captain Lucas Neill, Michael Beauchamp, Bresciano, Tim Cahill, Scott Chipperfield, Jason Culina, Emerton, Grella, Joshua Kennedy, Mark Milligan, Craig Moore, Mark Schwarzer and Luke Wilkshire.
Also included was 18-year-old Tommy Oar, who recently signed a contract with Dutch club FC Utrecht.
Verbeek said Oar's emergence was a very promising sign for the national team, although he said he was not guaranteed a trip to South Africa.
"It's great for Australian football we have a player like him," Verbeek said. "(He) made a big impression in a few weeks playing in the Netherlands."
Adelaide United goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic will also join the squad as possible replacement.