Bangkok: Head coach Graham Arnold believes Australia can take advantage of an extra day’s rest to book a place in the semi-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 when they face Syria at Rajamangala Stadium on Saturday.
The Olyroos sealed their place in the last eight as winners of Group A with a 1-1 draw against Bahrain on Tuesday to ensure Arnold’s team had additional recovery time ahead of their meeting with Ayman Hakeem’s side on Saturday.
“Our focus is just one game at a time,” said Arnold. “Our team has been improving in every game, from the first game to the game against Bahrain. I expect that tomorrow we will also have a great performance after the one extra day of recovery.”
Bangkok: Akira Nishino will delve deep into his coaching past for inspiration as he looks to lead hosts Thailand past Saudi Arabia and into the semi-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 at Thammasat Stadium on Saturday.
Nishino famously led his native Japan to the Finals of the Olympic Games in 1996, ending the country’s 28-year exile from the competition with a landmark victory over Saudi Arabia in the qualifying tournament for the Atlanta Olympiad in Kuala Lumpur.
Now, almost 24 years later, he comes face-to-face with the same opponents with designs on leading Thailand into the last four and a step closer to claiming one of the three tickets available for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Thailand 2020 - Vote for your Goal of the Group Stage
Bangkok: With the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 moving into the crucial knockout stage, we reflect on some of the best goals from the group stage and ask you the fans to select your favourite.
Long-range screamers, stunning free-kicks and superb team moves, the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 group stage saw goals from all angles and distances to delight lovers of Asian football across the Continent.
Bangkok: As the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 enters the knockout stage, the eight remaining teams will be targeting not just Continental glory but also the three tickets available to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Having survived a tough group campaign, the teams will be aiming to move one step closer to realising their dream of lifting the trophy and sealing berths in the Olympics.
Join the-AFC.com as we take a look at a key player from each team ahead of this weekend's quarter-finals.
Bangkok: With the United Arab Emirates and Jordan progressing from Group D on Thursday, the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals lineup has now been confirmed.
The successful duo join Australia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Korea Republic and Uzbekistan in the last eight with a place in the competition’s semi-finals – as well the potential of moving a step nearer to sealing a place at this year’s Olympics – at stake.
With all still to play for, join the-AFC.com as we take a closer look at the teams’ journeys so far.
Arnold expects a stronger Australia in quarter-finals
Bangkok: A relieved Graham Arnold stressed his players needed to make significant improvements after Australia’s 1-1 draw with Bahrain on Tuesday evening earned the Olyroos top spot in Group A and a place in the quarter-finals of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020.
The Australians will meet the runners-up from Group B in the last eight on Saturday after sharing the points with Bahrain, who exited the competition with two points from their three group matches.
One step at a time for Saudi Arabia as Olympics beckon
Bangkok: Head coach Saad Alshehri believes Saudi Arabia have achieved nothing yet despite his side securing their place in the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Feras Al Birakan’s 80th minute goal in a 1-0 win over regional rivals Syria - who also qualified - saw Saudi Arabia top the Group B standings and head into the next round having won two of their three group stage fixtures.
Although delighted to have guided Saudi Arabia through to the last eight, Alshehri is adamant that there is more work to be done if the West Asians are to realise their ambition of qualifying for this year’s Olympics.