TERRIGAL, Australia (AP) — Crystal Palace midfielder Mile Jedinak will lead Australia at the World Cup after getting the nod over Tim Cahill to replace long-term captain Lucas Neill.
Australia coach Ange Postecoglou announced the decision Wednesday, five days ahead of the Socceroos' last friendly on home soil before the squad leaves for Brazil.
The 29-year-old Jedinak was a mainstay for Palace last season, playing every game until he had to be replaced due to a groin strain during the last Premier League match.
Jedinak has played 43 times for Australia and was considered a longer-term option than 34-year-old Cahill, the New York Red Bulls star who will be playing at his third World Cup.
"It is a privileged position and an accolade he richly deserves after the incredible job he has done at Crystal Palace in the toughest club competition in world football," Postecoglou said. "Mile Jedinak embodies everything that is great about Australian football and Australia as a nation.
"He has risen to the top ... and done it the hard way from humble beginnings where he has battled and believed in himself to overcome the odds with an enormous work ethic and passion for what he does. I have no doubt he will lead the team with distinction in Brazil."
Postecoglou told the 36-year-old Neill before unveiling the extended 30-man World Cup squad last week that he wasn't in the Socceroos' future plans.
Jedinak, who played in a defeat to Germany in 2010 in his only previous World Cup match, will be only the fourth Australian to lead the Socceroos at football's marquee tournament, following Peter Wilson (1974), Mark Viduka (2006) and Neill (2010).
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