Australia named striker Apostolos Giannou as a replacement for injured winger Martin Boyle, with the Cyprus-based 28-year-old joining Graham Arnold’s Asian Cup squad on Thursday. Boyle was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a left knee injury in Sunday’s 5-0 friendly win over Oman and returned to club side Hibernian to continue his recovery.
Giannou’s registration was completed by the Asian Football Confederation on Wednesday, allowing the AEK Larnaca player to link up with the team in Al Ain ahead of their opening clash against Jordan on Jan. 6.
“Apostolos has been playing regularly in Cyprus with his club, as well as in the UEFA Europa League throughout 2018. He has arrived with the determination to impress and make the most of the opportunity,” Arnold said in a statement. “Our group has welcomed ‘Apo’ back into the Socceroos family and having been with us in Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait earlier this year, Apo has a clear picture of how we work and the principles of play.”
Champions Australia were already without midfielders Daniel Arzani and Aaron Mooy before Boyle’s injury but Arnold said that Giannou had the necessary qualities to make up for the loss of the Scotland-born winger. “Apo offers us something a little bit different in attack — he is a hard-working player who can press and has a sharp eye for goal,” Arnold said.
Giannou, who scored his first goal for Australia in a 4-0 win over Kuwait in October, completed a medical with the team ahead of his first major international tournament. “I’ll be doing everything I can to impress in training and perform in matches here in the UAE. We have a great squad with a great culture and together I believe we will achieve our goals,” he said.