Preview - 3rd Place Play-off: Arnold calls for final push as Olympics beckon for Australia
Bangkok: Australia head coach Graham Arnold has called on his players to deliver one final stellar performance as the Olyroos prepare to face Uzbekistan in Saturday’s AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020’s third place play-off, the winners of which will be guaranteed a place at this year’s Olympic Games.
Despite losing to Korea Republic in the semi-finals, Australia remain on the cusp of qualifying for Tokyo 2020, progress which would be assured should they beat their counterparts from Central Asia at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium.
Given what is at stake Arnold has, not surprisingly, wasted little time in asking his young charges to dig deep once more at a tournament where they claimed top spot in Group A before beating Syria in the last eight.
Preview - 3rd Place Play-off: Uzbekistan counting on history to take them to Olympics
Bangkok: Captain Islomjon Kobilov is hoping history can repeat itself on Saturday when Uzbekistan take on Australia in the third place play-off at the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 as the two nations go head-to-head in the battle for the Continent’s final berth at the Olympic Games.
The two nations face off at Rajamangala Stadium having suffered defeat in the semi-finals and know this will be their last chance to book a ticket to Tokyo this summer.
Uzbekistan are aiming to qualify for the Olympic Games for the first time in their history and Kobilov will be looking for his teammates to repeat the win achieved by several of the squad over the Australians at the AFC U-19 Championship in Bahrain in 2016.
Australia's Arnold targets Olympics after last four heartbreak
Bangkok: Australia head coach Graham Arnold had no option but to concede his Olyroos side were second best as they missed out on a place in the final of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 on Wednesday after slipping to a 2-0 loss to a dynamic Korea Republic.
The Australians were outplayed for much of the 90 minutes at Thammasat Stadium, with goals from Kim Dae-won and Lee Dong-gyeong taking the Koreans into the final while Arnold’s side will face Uzbekistan in the third place play-off on Saturday.
In addition to the bronze medal, Asia’s third berth at the Tokyo Olympic Games will be on the line and Arnold will attempt to lift his players as he looks to qualify the country for the global extravaganza for the first time since 2008.
Mental strength key to Australia’s Olympic hopes, says Glover
Bangkok: Thomas Glover says Australia must be mentally prepared for their AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 third place play-off against Uzbekistan after suffering semi-final heartbreak on Wednesday.
The Olyroos were defeated 2-0 by an impressive Korea Republic at the Thammasat Stadium and have to win against Uzbekistan - who lost 1-0 to Saudi Arabia in the other semi-final - on Saturday to confirm their ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Drulovic issues Uzbekistan rallying cry after semi-final woe
Bangkok: After seeing Uzbekistan’s AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 title aspirations undone thanks to a 1-0 semi-final loss to Saudi Arabia, head coach Ljubinko Drulovic has called on his players to show their true character when they go up against Australia with a place at this year’s Olympic Games still up for grabs.
A late Nasser Al Omran effort ultimately proved Uzbekistan’s undoing as the 2018 champions had their dreams of retaining the Continental crown shattered by their in-form opponents.
While the win guaranteed Saudi Arabia a place at Tokyo 2020, Uzbekistan will also be assured of their ticket to the global extravaganza should they beat the Olyroos, who lost to Korea Republic in the competition’s other last four showdown, on Saturday.