Injured Australia captain Jedinak out of Confederations Cup

Mile-Jedinak-of-Australia-reacts-after-scoring-a-goal-during-a-2018-World-Cup-qualifier-soccer-match-against-Thailand-at-Rajamangala-national-stadium-in-Bangkok,-Thailand,-Tuesday,-Nov.-15,-2016.-(Sakchai-Lalit/AP)

Mile Jedinak of Australia reacts after scoring a goal during a 2018 World Cup qualifier soccer match against Thailand at Rajamangala national stadium in Bangkok, Thailand, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

MELBOURNE, Australia — Mile Jedinak has been ruled out of Australia’s squad for the Confederations Cup after struggling to recover following a World Cup qualifying match against Saudi Arabia last week.

Football Federation Australia released a statement Tuesday, on the morning of an international friendly against Brazil, saying the Socceroos captain would focus on his health and fitness rather than contest the Confederations Cup in Russia.

"Losing Mile is a blow as he is not only an important member of the midfield but a great leader among the group," Australia coach Ange Postecoglou said. "He has had a tough period since Christmas with his groin and we all agree it is in the best long-term interest of Mile and the Socceroos that he has a break."

Uncapped midfielder James Jeggo, who is contracted to SK Sturm Graz in Austria, joined the Socceroos as a replacement. Jedinak, who has played 71 times for Australia, is hopeful of returning for Australia’s crucial World Cup qualifier in Japan in August. Japan, Australia and Saudi Arabia were level on 16 points in Group B of Asian World Cup qualifying, although Japan had a game in hand and was leading on goal difference.

"I’m disappointed to miss the Confederations Cup as it is something we have been looking forward to and working towards since we won the Asian Cup," Jedinak said. "But we have some crucial games coming up over the next 12 months leading into the World Cup, which I need to be fit and firing for."

The Australian squad leaves for Russia on Wednesday and will open its Confederations Cup campaign against Germany in Sochi next Monday.

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