Australia’s Olympic football team have now confirmed their spot in the final stage of AFC's Tokyo 2020 qualifiers. But which Olyroos will be crucial in helping Australia break a 12-year Olympics hoodoo?
Australia joins 15 other nations next January in Thailand at the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship (see all qualified teams below) after qualifying on Tuesday night following a 2-2 draw with the Korea Republic.
The Olyroos last qualified for the Olympics in 2008, where they faced Messi’s Argentina, Serbia and Ivory Coast in China.
March has been critical for Olyroos coach Graham Arnold. It was a rare chance to train with a new group of players and play two friendlies in Kuala Lumpur, before the three successful group qualifiers in Cambodia that helped Australia reach the final stage of qualifiers in Thailand.
So, with Thailand on our minds, here are four players that could spearhead Australia’s campaign next January to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.
Full back: Ivan Vujica (Newcastle Jets)
The Newcastle lad was a revelation in Cambodia.
The full-back showed impressive reserves of energy in the heat of Phnom Penh, getting up and down the left side, pressing well and providing good quality crosses on a tricky artificial surface.
In short, he stood out with his constant high work rate.
Starting two games in three days (Cambodia Friday and Chinese Taipei Sunday) showed he has the fitness to take on the humid Thailand challenge next January.
As an A-League player, he’ll be in mid-season next January, so fitness will not be an issue for Vujica coming from an Australian summer.
Winger: Reno Piscopo (Renate FC)
Arguably the find of the tournament from Australia’s perspective. The Italian-based winger can take on players and knows when to drop deep and receive.
His years at the Inter Milan academy clearly showed, with technique and pace on show against teams that sat back.
More time with the team and the Melbourne-born future star will be even better for the Olyroos.