- Associated Press - Monday, December 22, 2014

SYDNEY (AP) - Coach Ange Postecoglou has included 16 of the 23 players he took to this year’s World Cup in his final 23-man squad for next month’s Asian Cup.

In-form striker Nathan Burns has also retained his place in the reduced squad named Tuesday by Postecoglou for the Asian tournament which begins with Australia’s match against Kuwait on Jan. 9.

Burns, who is the leading scorer in this season’s A-League with 10 goals, is one of seven A-Leaguers named along with Terry Antonis, Eugene Galekovic, Tom Juric, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan and Matthew Spiranovic.

Players who went to the World Cup but have missed selection for the Asian Cup are Oliver Bozanic, Ben Halloran, James Holland, Ryan McGowan, Adam Taggart, Dario Vidosic and Bailey Wright.

The squad contains seven players who played at the last Asian Cup in Qatar in 2011 and finished runner-up to Japan: Burns, Tim Cahill, captain Mike Jedinak, Robbie Kruse, McKay, Tommy Oar and Spiranovic.

Postecoglou said he is confident his 2015 squad will perform well.

“It’s been almost six months in the making since the FIFA World Cup,” he said. “We’ve had a series of games where there have been some pretty clear objectives, particularly in terms of broadening the pool and seeing whether we could get some better balance in the squad and more depth.

“In the end, I’m pretty pleased with the 23 we’ve ended up with. There’s a good combination of the core of the group that went to the FIFA World Cup. There’s some experience there, but also a sprinkling of guys who will enhance the squad we took to the FIFA World Cup.”

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Australia squad: Terry Antonis, Aziz Behich, Mark Bresciano, Nathan Burns, Tim Cahill, Jason Davidson, Ivan Franjic, Eugene Galekovic, Chris Herd, Mike Jedinak (captain), Tom Juric, Robbie Kruse, Mitchell Langerak, Matthew Leckie, Massimo Luongo, Matt McKay, Mark Milligan, Tommy Oar, Mat Ryan, Trent Sainsbury, Matthew Spiranovic, James Troisi, Alex Wilkinson.

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