Socceroos get Asian Cup boost as rivals snub star striker
Australia have been given a pre-Asian Cup boost with group stage opponents Jordan not picking star striker Hamza Al-Dardour for the tournament.
The Socceroos face Jordan in the opening match of their tournament defence in the United Arab Emirates on January 6.
Jordan's Belgian coach Vital Borkelmans has named a preliminary squad of 30 players for the tournament but surprisingly did not include the 27-year-old. Al-Dardour made headlines during the 2015 Asian Cup in Australia when he scored four goals in a 5-1 win over Palestine in Melbourne.
He loomed as one of the biggest concerns for Socceroos coach Graham Arnold having scored 27 goals in 55 appearances for Al-Nashama.
AAP understands Al-Dardour's non-selection is tactical and not based on any injury concerns.
The striker's only way to make Jordan's final 23-man squad for the tournament appears to be if Borkelmans picks him as a replacement if one of his other forwards gets injured.
Australia is expected to name their squad for the tournament in Sydney next week.
The Socceroos other group stage opponents are Palestine and Syria.