Ten players who helped Auckland City to a shock fifth-placed finish at the 2009 Club World Cup are back to contest next month's edition in Japan.
It will be Auckland's third appearance at Fifa's premier club event when they take on the as-yet unknown J-League winners on December 8 at Toyota Stadium for a place in the quarter-finals against Concacaf champions CF Monterrey.
They suffered two defeats in the 2006 Club World Cup but shocked most, including themselves, when they not only qualified for the competition proper (they play off against the host nation's best side to make the final eight) but then went on to beat African champions TP Mazembe 3-2 to finish fifth and claim US$1.5 million in prizemoney.
While James Pritchett was part of the 2006 FIFA Club World Cup campaign, and captain Ivan Vicelich, Chad Coombes, Daniel Koprivcic, Adam Dickinson, Jacob Spoonley, Ian Hogg, Alex Feneridis, Sam Campbell and Adam McGeorge were all part of the 2009 Auckland City squad that finished fifth in Abu Dhabi, some newer faces give Auckland a more cosmopolitan and youthful look this year.
"The core of this team is based around the likes of Ivan Vicelich and David Mulligan," Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx said. "We have a group of very experienced senior players who we're going to rely upon to set the bar as high as possible in Japan.
"We've added some up and coming youngsters like Simon Arms and Thomas Doyle, players we believe have a big future in the game. It's a good blend of experience and youth."
Also included are the former Barcelona pair of Manel Exposito and Andreu Guerao alongside Angel Berlanga, Albert Riera, Emiliano Tade and Costa Rican forward Luis Corrales. Exposito is in top form with seven goals in just five domestic and regional games.
Tribulietx has included Jacob Spoonley as his preferred choice in goal with support provided by Liam Little. Goalkeeper coach Paul Gothard is Auckland's third-choice glove man. Former Glasgow Rangers player Andrew Milne books himself a ticket to Japan and youngsters Thomas Doyle and Simon Arms have successfully pressed their claims for inclusion.
The team depart New Zealand on November 28, setting up camp in Tokyo ahead of the friendly match with Ryutsu Keizai University on December 2. Skipper Ivan Vicelich, whose wife is expecting their second child, arrives in Japan a few days later.
Auckland squad: Jacob Spoonley, Ian Hogg, Sam Campbell, Angel Berlanga, Chad Coombes, James Pritchett, David Mulligan, Manel Exposito, Luis Corrales, Daniel Koprivcic, Liam Little, Alex Feneridis, Adam Dickinson, Ivan Vicelich, Albert Riera, Adam McGeorge, Paul Gothard, Emiliano Tade, Andreu Guerao, Andrew Milne, Simon Arms, Thomas Doyle.
Fifa Club World Cup playoff, Thursday December, 8 - Auckland City vs J-League winners, Toyota Stadium, Japan, 11.45pm (NZT)