A former Croatian U-21 international has been named in Australia’s preliminary World Cup squad despite never being to the country before.
Zagreb-born Fran Karacic, who plays for Lokomotiva in the Croatian first division, has been named in the Socceroos squad on Monday.
The defender is eligible to represent Australia due to the fact his father was born Australia. Karacic holds an Australian passport, although he’s never actually visited the country before.
This season Karacic scored one goal in his 23 appearances for Zagreb club Lokomotiva.
“The problem is we don’t have a lot of choices for the right back position. He’s a lot of time captain of a team, he’s 21, he’s playing at the highest level in Croatia,” Australian coach Van Marwijk said as he announced the squad.
Karacic will compete with established right back Josh Risdon and Bailey Wright for a spot in the final 23-man squad. If he is selected for Australia and plays he will not be able to return to play for Croatia again.