Australian midfielder Jason Culina will play no further part in the Asian Cup due to an ongoing knee problem.
Socceroos officials announced Culina had left Asia’s flagship national tournament in Qatar to receive treatment in Australia shortly after his country booked a semi-final spot with a 1-0 win over Iraq in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Culina aggravated the injury in Australia’s Group C 1-1 draw with South Korea and has not played in the two matches since, with Carl Valeri taking his place in central midfield.
Osieck said he was disappointed to have had to let the Gold Coast United midfielder leave camp, but he knew it was right decision.
“We had hopes that Jason may be available for the upcoming matches, but the latest medical reports suggested that he would not be at 100 percent,” Osieck said
“Following discussions with our medical staff we have come to the decision that it is in Jason’s best interest that we let him return home to receive treatment to get his knee right.”
“It’s always disappointing to lose a player of Jason’s calibre, but the players and staff are fully supportive of Jason and we look forward to seeing him back with us as soon as possible.”
Culina spoke of his frustration at having to leave the tournament prematurely: “Unfortunately, I knew that I wouldn’t be at my best for the remainder of the competition,” the Gold Coast United midfielder said.
“I’m thankful that Holger has allowed me to return to hopefully recover as soon as possible.”
“I wish the boys all the best for the remainder of the AFC Asian Cup and I’ll be watching from home.”
Under the AFC Asian Cup Regulations, Osieck is unable to bring a substitute player into the Socceroos squad for the remainder of the tournament.
The Socceroos will face Uzbekistan at Khalifa Stadium in the semi-finals on Tuesday after defeating Iraq 1-0 in the quarter-finals.