22/02/2024

The Aussies face a tough test against Argentina, Spain and Egypt in the Olympic group stage. Picture: Socceroos.com.au

Australia has announced its 18-man Olyroos squad with Tokyo 2020 the side's first Olympic appearance since Beijing 2008.

The 18-man Olyroos squad for the upcoming Tokyo games has been announced and it is littered with talent based both at home and abroad.

As is often the case due to Olympic Football age restrictions, the Australian squad is made up entirely of debutants, including the nation’s two selected overage players in Mitchell Duke (30) and Ruon Tongyik (24).

Thomas Deng is another 24-year-old who makes the cut but due to the strange circumstances surrounding the delay of the games until 2021, will not take up one of Australia’s overage spots.

The team will be coached by current Socceroos manager, Graham Arnold, who also happened to be the man in charge when the Olyroos last featured at the Olympics back in 2008.

The nation failed to qualify for London 2012 and Rio 2016, but thanks to a Nicholas D’Agostino goal against Uzbekistan, the Olyroos are back and are looking to surprise the football world in July.

Picture: Socceroos

D’Agostino recalls the moment that got the Olyroos to Tokyo, the sublime individual effort one of the highlights of his career so far.

“Words can’t describe that feeling to be honest, just incredible,” he said.

“I have watched that goal and watched that game so many times back just to re-live it, every single time it is unreal and the feeling never dies.

“It always creates that little buzz inside you that you just want to go out there and play and do that again.”

D’Agostino will have that chance as the Olyroos take on Argentina on 22 July in the opening match of their campaign, followed by further Group Stage games against Egypt and Spain.

A collection of the A-League’s brightest talent headlines the squad. Tom Glover and Joel King featured in Sunday’s A-League Grand Final, along with Nathaniel Atkinson who was awarded player of the match honours in the same game.

Despite the debutants, there is a reasonable amount of international experience there with Denis Genreau, Connor Metcalfe, Harry Souttar, Ruon Tongyik, Riley McGree and Mitchell Duke all representing the country at the recent World Cup Qualifiers.

Souttar in particular has made an astounding start to his international career, scoring six goals in his five Socceroos appearances, all from the centre back position.

The Olyroos will no doubt look to utilise his aerial prowess and sheer height from dead-ball situations throughout the tournament.

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A face that many Olyroos fans will be keen to see back in action is highly regarded youngster, Daniel Arzani.

2018’s A-League Young Player of the Year burst onto the scene for Melbourne City three years ago before making the move to Manchester City.

Since then, he has been out on loan to various clubs and due to a multitude of injuries and difficult circumstances, has struggled to find regular first team football.

Arzani will be one of many Olyroos keen to make an impression in Tokyo, with Graham Arnold touting the squad as one that can do some serious damage.

“It is such a special moment and special time, I am really excited to get to Japan, I can’t wait,” Arnold said.

“My expectations are that we are going to shock the world and we are going to go out there, play on the front foot, we’re not going to go out there trying not to lose the game, we are going out there expecting to win the game and it doesn’t matter who we play.

“The players that have been selected they are all excited, they are all grateful for the opportunity and the chance. The strength of the Socceroos is the Olyroos and I do expect these kids to really step up.

“People might want to look at it as a ‘Group of Death’ but for me it is a ‘Group of Dreams’. It is what you dream about and you want to play these types of teams (Argentina, Spain, Egypt) and test yourself against the best in the world.”

Olyroos Squad

NamePositionAgeOlympic Games
Daniel ArzaniForward22Debut
Nathaniel AtkinsonDefender22Debut
Keanu BaccusMidfielder23Debut
Nicholas D’AgostinoForward23Debut
Thomas DengDefender24Debut
Mitchell Duke*Forward30Debut
Denis GenreauMidfielder22Debut
Thomas GloverGoalkeeper23Debut
Joel KingDefender20Debut
Ashley Maynard-BrewerGoalkeeper22Debut
Riley McGreeMidfielder22Debut
Connor MetcalfeMidfielder21Debut
Dylan PieriasMidfielder21Debut
Reno PiscopoForward23Debut
Kye RowlesDefender23Debut
Harry SouttarDefender22Debut
Ruon Tongyik*Defender24Debut
Caleb WattsMidfielder19Debut

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