There is still plenty to play for when Australia face hosts Thailand on Saturday, but their match against Iraq left a lot to be desired.



A free-kick goal forged by the God's themselves. Reno Piscopo has never hit a ball sweeter in his life. 

He may have had a few hiccups in the match, but his free-kick was a thing of beauty. 

Now, about those hiccups. Piscopo has the talent to seriously spearhead Australia's qualification charge. He just needs to pull the trigger.

One chance was fluffed in the first half, but other moments saw the talented youngster opt to cut in, pass or shimmy, instead of testing the keeper. 


Jacob Italiano lit the stadium alight when he was substituted on for Australia. We haven't seen the Borussia Mönchengladbach winger on our shores for almost a year, but his raw talent and flair was something to be behold when he stepped out onto Thammasat Stadium.


Olyroos vs Iraq: Player Ratings

The Olyroos stuttered to a 1-1 draw in their opening group match of the AFC U23 Championships against Iraq as Reno Piscopo's stunning free-kick was cancelled out by Mohammed Nassif.

Immediately, Italiano's change of pace and acceleration sprung Australia's stuttering attack into life, albeit briefly. 

Fans were impressed by his cameo and will want to see more minutes against Thailand.



Is the price tag getting to Keanu Baccus?

Reports suggest Western Sydney Wanderers executives have valued Baccus at $1million  following interest from Danish club AGF, home of fellow Olyroos Alex Gersbach and Zach Duncan. 

Baccus's first 15 minutes were exceptional. He looked confident without a care in the world. Beating players on the dribble and making tough passes stick. But then came the turnovers. Once one came, the rest of them stacked up, and not just by him, but plenty by his teammates as well. 

Baccus is a serious asset to the Olyroos team, he just needs to put his head down and concentrate. 


Three things we learned: Australia vs Iraq

The Olyroos quest to progress to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has gotten off to a frustrating start as Graham Arnold’s men – despite a wonder strike from Reno Piscopo – held to a 1-1 draw with Iraq.


Australia's full-backs were below par against Iraq. We know Graham Arnold places a lot of importance on his full-backs going forward, often leaving them as the sole source of wide play, allowing wingers to occupy spaces in front of centre-backs. 

But Australian fans would hope the draw against Iraq was a match to shake off the cobwebs. 

As the oldest and most experienced player in the squad, Alex Gersbach's performance didn't lead by example. Gabriel Cleur on the right flank had trouble going forward as well. 

Many improvements are needed in this area of the park if Arnie's game plan is make these players Olympians.