ONE STEP CLOSER: Brillante is almost there
FOOTBALL: The World Cup dream of Bundaberg's Josh Brillante is almost a reality.
The former The Waves junior was yesterday named in Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk's 26-man squad for the upcoming tournament in Russia.
Brillante survived the first cut from the coach, which saw the squad reduced from 32 to 26 ahead of a camp that will start in Turkey on Saturday.
The news wasn't as good for fellow Bundy boy Mitch Langerak who didn't survive.
He was joined by Jamie Maclaren, Apostolos Giannou, Alex Gersbach, Bailey Wright and Aleksandar Susnjar.
"It is always a challenging task to reduce a squad, however this is the nature of professional sport at the highest level,” van Marwijk told the Socceroos site.
"Overall, I believe we have named a strong and ambitious squad for our training camp in Turkey and friendly against Czech Republic in Austria.”
The decision from van Marwijk puts Bundaberg in a similar position to the last World Cup, where one played and one missed out.
Brillante this time got the Socceroos nod after missing out in Brazil.
"These next couple of weeks in the training camp are going to be really intense, really good,” he told the Socceroos site.
"The squad is pretty strong, I'm happy with it.”
The 25-year-old, who has made five appearances for the Roos, said the focus wasn't on the World Cup just yet.
It was on impressing the coach to survive the final cut.
"At the end of the day I'm happy if I'm on the field playing football,” he said.
"We'll just see what happens.”
The final squad will be announced on June 3 with Australia starting its World Cup campaign on June 16 against France.
D. Arzani, A. Behich, J. Brillante, T. Cahill, M. Degenek, J. Irvine, M. Jedinak, B. Jones, T. Juric, M. Jurman, F. Karacic, R. Kruse, M. Leckie, M. Luongo, J. Meredith, M. Milligan, A. Mooy, A. Nabbout, D. Petratos, J. Risdon, T. Rogic, N. Rukavytsya, M. Ryan, T. Sainsbury, J. Troisi, D. Vukovic.