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Australia's U23 football squad to play in Spain in preparation for Tokyo Olympics

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-05-18 14:30
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SYDNE -- A squad of potential Australian Olympic soccer players and national team players of the future will join a training camp and compete in a series of friendly matches in Spain next month as part of the country's preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The matches will be held in the southern Spanish city of Marbella, said Football Australia (FA) on Tuesday.

Young Socceroos head coach and former Olympian Gary van Egmond and FA national technical director and Joeys head coach Trevor Morgan will be in charge of the U23 players.

Van Egmond and Morgan will assess the squad in action against a diverse range of opponents and then offer player recommendations to Olyroos head coach Graham Arnold, who will be with the Socceroos in the Middle East, ahead of Australia's final squad selection for Tokyo.

While in Marbella, the U-23s will play four friendlies, three of which will be against teams that have also been qualified for the men's football tournament at the Tokyo Games which is scheduled for late July.

On June 2, Australia will play against Ireland's U21 men's national team, ahead of international friendlies against fellow Tokyo Olympics' qualified nations Saudi Arabia (Group D) on June 5, Romania (Group B) on June 8, and Mexico (Group A) on June 12.

The Olyroos' final squad selection for Tokyo is due to be announced in late June before the squad assembles in Japan for a training camp in early July.

Tokyo will be Australia's first return to men's football at the Olympics since Beijing 2008 and will be the first time Australia competes in both men's and women's football since Athens 2004.

To date, 24 players have been named to the U23 squad including four A-League players Connor O'Toole, Luka Prso, Ramy Najjarine, and Dylan Ryan, who have been made available by their A-League clubs to compete.

"We're all fighting for the chance to go to the Olympics and I would like to go and secure my spot," Ryan said.

"It has always been a dream of mine to go to the Olympics, to represent my country and I don't want to let this opportunity slide."

Other players are expected to be announced soon.

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