Injured Australian winger Martin Boyle has been ruled out of the World Cup in what coach Graham Arnold describes as a devastating blow.
The Socceroos have summoned Marco Tilio into their 26-man squad to replace Boyle, who hurt a knee on October 28 playing for his Scottish club Hibernian.
And while creative midfielder Ajdin Hrustic has been cleared of his ankle injury, he won't start against France in Australia's cup opener on Tuesday night (Wednesday 0600 AEDT).
Coach Arnold punted on selecting Boyle but the influential speedster hasn't been able to train with the main squad since arriving in Qatar.
"That is probably the hardest thing, the devastating thing, he has been so important ... and has probably been one of our best players right through the whole campaign," Arnold told reporters.
"But at the end of the day, we can't do anything about it now.
"It's devastating news for Martin and the family.
"But at the end of the day we pretty much knew it was going to be touch and go when we selected him, that is why we brought Tilio over as a standby and back-up player.
"But Martin is in great spirits. He is going to stay on here and be part of it still and be brings such energy to the camp and to the players.
"And as I said, it's devastating news for Martin but for Marco Tilio and the rest of the players, it's all about performance now."
Boyle's absence gives 21-year-old Tilio a cup lifeline after being considered unlucky to be overlooked for the original squad.
The Melbourne City winger has been training with the Socceroos in Doha as a standby player.
"He has integrated really well," Arnold said of Tilio.
"I called him obviously to tell him he wasn't part of the (original) 26 but at the same time he was on standby.
"We were probably, to be honest, 80-20 that Boyle would have been out. "But we had to give him every last minute and every last chance to try and get fit especially because of the sacrifice and everything that he has done through the whole campaign.
"The medical staff have done everything they possibly can and yesterday was pretty much the last chance and it didn't come through well."
Attacking midfielder Hrustic hasn't played since copping an ankle injury on October 3 playing for his Italian club side Hellas Verona.
"Ajdin is fine," Arnold said.
"He won't start against France but he is capable of coming off the bench and having an impact but he will ready for sure to start against Tunisia."