Australia have suffered a significant blow just weeks before the Olympics after striker Des Abbott was dropped from the squad because of injury.

Coach Ric Charlesworth claimed it was his "most difficult decision" to tell the 26-year-old, a key man for the world number ones, he would not feature in London.

Abbott has been playing with a knee complaint since 2010 but having been named in the original 16 Charlesworth said the Beijing bronze medal winner was not fit enough to retain his place.

"Des is a walk-up start, if his game is uncompromised, he is one of the world's most brilliant players but the progressive knee injury has interfered in his game," said the Kookaburras coach.

"This is the most difficult thing I've had to do in my time, we acknowledge what Des, at his best, can be but given the circumstances we felt Russell Ford was the better option."

Ford was unfortunate to miss selection originally, having not made the cut four years ago.