Graham Arnold is setting his Olyroos hopes high for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, predicting the current crop will be the first Australian football team to medal at the games.
FIFA recommended and the IOC confirmed that the Tokyo 2021 Olympics football tournament - usually a majority U/23 competition in the male half of the draw - has an extended age range to allow current qualifying players to take part.
This allows Arnold's current Olyroos squad, the first Australian team to qualify since 2008's Arnold led side, an extra year of preparation and experience to take into the showpiece tournament.
“I think it is a very sensible decision,” Arnold told the FFA podcast.
“The boys worked so hard to qualify and everyone at that age group all over the world worked hard to get their countries there, so I think that is thoroughly deserved.
“As I said to the boys after they qualified, now the real work starts. They all need to get playing wherever they are and start performing to be selected in that Olympic squad.
“My belief is that we will go to Tokyo and be the first Australian football team to win an Olympic medal,” he enforced.
“That’s what my goals are. It is quite strange now not coaching or being around football, but we have got great times ahead of us.”
Arnold said that the Olympics would offer the perfect shop-window experience for the next generation of Socceroos contenders to further their careers at the highest level.
“For me the Olympics is not only a prestigious competition, but it’s a great tournament for the growth of players,” he said.
“The clubs are always watching with their scouts there and you can easily get recognised at those major tournaments.”