Socceroos line up South Korea, Lebanon friendlies

Sydney (AFP) –


Australia announced friendlies against South Korea and Lebanon on Thursday as part of preparations to defend their Asian Cup crown.

The Socceroos will take on the Koreans -- who they beat in the 2015 Asian Cup final -- in Brisbane on November 17 and the Lebanese three days later in Sydney.

New coach Graham Arnold said the friendlies will allow him to take a better look at the players he hopes to be in contention for January's Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

"The fixtures that have been scheduled in Brisbane and Sydney will provide us with valuable match minutes against strong Asian opponents, and this will only help us to improve as a team," he said.

Arnold announced a 31-man squad Thursday for a training camp in Turkey next week.

It includes a host of uncapped players including Ben Garuccio, who plies his trade for Hearts in Scotland, and Kenneth Dougall, who plays for English side Barnsley.

Arnold also threw an international lifeline to several players who were discarded by former coaches Ange Postecoglou or Bert van Marwijk, who led the team during the World Cup in Russia.

They include Bristol City defender Bailey Wright, Japan-based winger Mitchell Duke, and striker Apostolos Giannou from Cypriot side AEK Larnaca.

"Next week's camp in Turkey marks the start of a new phase for the Socceroos," said Arnold.

"While we will have numerous field, tactical, and video sessions during the seven days that we are together in Turkey, we will also spend plenty of time off the pitch discussing our individual and team objectives and identity."