Victory’s Folami earns first Roos selection as Goodwin and Irvine drop out

Ben Folami has been drafted into Australia’s squad for the first time after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the Socceroos, with Craig Goodwin and Jackson Irvine both ruled out of two crucial World Cup qualifiers.

Adelaide United captain Goodwin dropped out after he was deemed to be a close contact for COVID-19, while St Pauli midfielder Irvine tested positive prior to departing Germany.

With the Socceroos due to host Japan in Sydney on Thursday before travelling to Saudi Arabia five days later on the road to Qatar 2022, Australia have called up in-form Victory attacker Folami and Blackpool midfielder Kenneth Dougall.

It comes after Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold contracted coronavirus again, having been forced to isolate for the game against Vietnam in Melbourne in January.

The Socceroos are third in World Cup qualifying, occupying the play-off spot in the AFC – three points behind second-placed Japan and four adrift of leaders Saudi Arabia.