Australia coach Osieck dumps veteran Schwarzer

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Under-fire Australia coach Holger Osieck has dumped veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer for friendlies against France and Canada after the Socceroos' 6-0 humiliation by World Cup hosts Brazil earlier this month.

Osieck on Tuesday named uncapped Mitchell Langerak, who plays for Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund, and Belgium-based Mat Ryan as his two keepers in a 24-man squad, but said 40-year-old Schwarzer remained his first choice for next year's finals in Brazil.

"I know what he can do and his status in the team. He's our number one goalkeeper," German Osieck told reporters in Sydney.

"But if I keep playing him, what about the others we may need?

"In particular Mitch Langerak ... I think it's about time for him to show what he can do."

Schwarzer, who will be 41 next month, holds a record 109 caps for Australia and has been a nailed-on fixture in the Socceroos' goalmouth for nearly two decades.

Although hoping to bow out on a high at a third successive World Cup, Schwarzer has struggled for game-time since crossing from Fulham to Premier League rivals Chelsea, where he stands behind Petr Cech in the pecking order.

Twenty-five year-old Langerak has only a handful of appearances for Dortmund but made his Champions League debut for the Bundesliga side last week in a 2-1 loss to Napoli when goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller was sent off in the first half.

Osieck steered the Socceroos through Asia's regional qualifiers to book the team's ticket to Brazil but the shambolic loss in Brasilia has placed him under huge pressure.

Australian media criticised Osieck throughout the Socceroos' dicey qualifying campaign this year, and have called on the country's soccer administration to sack him immediately and find a replacement in time for the World Cup.

"We're in the early stages of preparing for the World Cup," said Osieck.

"We made the major step and we are already there and a lot of great football nations are still struggling and maybe won't even get there.

"So to question me then, that's a little bit out of order."

Widely regarded to be coaching for his career against France and Canada, Osieck has recalled attacking midfielder Tim Cahill and stalwart defender Luke Wilkshire after the pair missed the Brazil match due to injury.

Uncapped Jackson Irvine, a 20-year-old midfielder playing in Scotland's top flight, has joined the squad for the first time.

Japan-based defender Lucas Neill is set to captain the Socceroos' for a record-equalling 60th time in the October 15 match against Canada in London, which follows the October 11 clash against France in Paris.

(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Amlan Chakraborty)

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