FIFA clears Croatia U21 international Fran Karacic to switch allegiances to Australia

FIFA has cleared Croatia Under-21 international Fran Karacic to switch eligibility and play for Australia at the World Cup.

FIFA says the formal "change of association'' for Croatia-born Karacic, who is named in Australia's provisional squad, was completed on Thursday.

The 22-year-old defender is eligible for Australia because his father was born there.

FIFA lets players make one change of allegiance in their career before they play a senior competitive game for a national team.

Karacic seems certain to be included in coach Bert van Marwijk's 23-man squad next month in Russia to fill a need at right-back -- a spot the Australia boss recently admitted was a need for the team.

He helped Lokomotiva Zagreb finish fifth in the Croatian league this season.

Australia will play in Group C with France, Denmark and Peru.