15/04/2024

Daniel Arzani was the star in Sunday morning's match against Mexico. (Source: @SNAUFootball/Twitter)

Daniel Arzani scored twice as the Olyroos lost to Mexico, putting his hand up to be included in the squad heading to Tokyo.

Daniel Arzani has scored twice as the Olyroos were defeated 3-2 by Mexico on Sunday morning.

Arzani has been given a big chance to impress in this series of warm-up matches. He has been creative in the last two matches, and looks likely to be included in the Olympic squad heading to Tokyo.

Despite suffering a series of injuries the winger, currently playing for AGF in Denmark, showed no signs of rust. His tricky footwork earned Australia a penalty which Arzani scored confidently from.

After a Mexico equalizer from a set piece, Arzani restored the Olyroos’ lead with a fortuitous long-range strike. Cutting in from the right flank, he unleashed a shot that dipped awkwardly in front of goalkeeper Malagón Velázquez.

Somehow, the ball squirmed under the keeper and bounced off the post behind him, deflecting off his back and across the line.

Arzani’s effort was on target and well hit. It was a lucky strike, but It was the sort of game-breaking initiative he had shown previously at the 2018 World Cup.

Mexico took out the win with goals through Kevin Álvarez Campos in the 58th minute and Eduardo Aguirre in the 77th.

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Socceroos coach Graham Arnold had not included Arzani in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers currently underway.

In May, Arnold indicated that Arzani needed more game time at club level to be considered for the Socceroos squad.  His time with the Olyroos is an audition for Tokyo, and to put himself back in the frame for a senior recall.

The Olyroos have been beaten by Mexico, The Republic of Ireland and Romania, but they have not been outclassed. All three defeats have been by a single goal and the team has been able to create chances. So far, finishing those chances has been the problem.

Apart from Arzani’s brace, the only other goal came against Ireland with a curler from Ramy Najjarine.

If Arzani’s mix of composure and fortune in front of goal can continue at the Olympics, he still might be Australia’s most potent attacking threat.

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