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Olyroos to play New Zealand ahead of 2020 Finals

Monday, August 5, 2019

Sydney: Australia’s U-23 team will gain valuable international exposure in early September when Football Federation Australia (FFA) hosts New Zealand in a two-match series in New South Wales.

The Olyroos will be making their fourth appearance in the AFC U-23 Championship Finals after securing their spots in Thailand 2020 as one of the four best second-placed teams in the Qualifiers last March.

Thailand 2020 also serves as qualification to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games, where three other teams will join Japan.

Australia will take on New Zealand at the WIN Stadium in Wollongong on September 6, before playing the second fixture at the Campbelltown Stadium three days later as both nations seek to advance their preparations for forthcoming Tokyo 2020 qualification tournaments.

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Head Coach Graham Arnold, who is also leading the senior national team, said the fixtures represented a great chance for the squad to gel as the countdown to January’s AFC U23 Championship Thailand continues.

“The boys did a great job in Cambodia in March to qualify for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship,” Arnold said. “Now it’s important that we get them together regularly in the lead up to January so that they are as prepared as possible to achieve the target of earning a place at the Olympics.”

Additionally, with the Socceroos playing Asian Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 in September, October, and November, Young Socceroos Head Coach Gary van Egmond will serve as Acting Head Coach of Australia’s U-23 men’s team during these windows. Arnold will be Head Coach of Australia’s U-23s for January’s tournament in Thailand and continue to oversee the programme.

“We are pleased with how this structure will work over the next six months,” Arnold added. “With Gary (van Egmond) – who is an Olympian himself – working with the Young Socceroos as well as the Under-23s, and myself, Rene Meulensteen and Tony Vidmar focussing on the Socceroos but keeping a close eye on the 23s, the fluid communication and pathway between the squads will be maintained.”

Source: Football Federation Australia

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