'Bring it on!': Arnold, Meulensteen and Vidmar react to Olyroos draw
Olyroos Head Coach Graham Arnold shared a call with assistants Renee Meulensteen and Tony Vidmar and broadcaster Michael Zappone as Australia discovered their group stage opponents at Tokyo 2020.
Watch their responses in the player above, or read their reactions below, as the Australia U-23's were drawn alongside Argentina, Spain and Egypt in Group C.
Arnold: "Obviously it's an exciting time with Tokyo coming up in front of us. It's been a long wait since we qualified in January last year in Thailand and I know that the players are working hard individually at the clubs and we're all ready for it to go. Just waiting for the draw is giving me so much excitement to get back on the field.
"I've got to give a lot of praise to the staff and the players who came into Thailand with a truly fantastic attitude, from the day that we took over in 2018 and we wanted to grow the depth of the Socceroos squad with this Olympic team. We drove the players about how important qualification was for them, not only for the game of football in Australia but also for the individual in their careers, and the players really bought into that.
They came to Thailand with a fantastic attitude and we had to play six games in pretty much 18 days, every three days, in pretty hot conditions and the boys did a fantastic job.
I've had some experiences in 1988 as a player, 2004 as an assistant, 2008 as a head coah and you see some unbelievable players. Out of this Olympics you will see many teams' next golden generations.
Meulensteen: "I think it's a fantastic platform for young players. Besides the World Cup it's probably the biggest football tournament out there. A lot of players that have played in in the Olympic tournament and have done well have gone on to have fantastic careers in Europe or at big clubs elsewhere. If you look at the history of it, I think really South American countries, and those like Germany, Spain and France find it very important to qualify for those special tournaments."
Looking back: Tony Vidmar on his experiences as part of the squad that secured the nation's highest ever finish
"Barcelona 1992 was an unbelievable tournament. We had a fairly big build-up and difficult games along the way but to go into the tournament and play Mexico, Sweden and Ghana, two times: that exposure for us at that level was huge. That tournament being the first under-23 tournament was a massive springboard and really set myself on a fantastic journey, and that was a big part of it - learning through international football.
"We came up against against Poland in the semi final and we were outclassed. But then we also had the opportunity to go to the third place playoff against Ghana who were quality opposition. It was disappointing that we couldn't get the win but did ourselves proud."
The draw is revealed... with Australia in Group C alongside Argentina, Spain and Egypt!
Arnold: "Fantastic, bring it on - I can't wait! I hope that Egypt bring Mohammed Salah! We're ready - Spain, Argentina, brings back memories of 2004 Olympics in Greece and 2008 in Beijing - we get Argentina again which is fantastic.
We will go to the Olympics with a great energy, great attitude. It will be a different Olympics than in the past but you know we will be ready and I look forward so much to playing against those type of nations and as I said it's a wonderful experience for our boys and one that we are very confident in being successful."
Meulensteen: "We've had already two successful qualification campaigns. This is where we want to be this is where we were especially myself, I've never experienced the Olympics. We all know this tournament have a bit of a different outlook because of the pandemic and everything. But you look at all those groups very, very strong teams which is fantastic, bring it on.
Vidmar: "Egypt's the only team that I haven't come across but I'm sure it's a quality lineup. This is a fantastic group and this is what the coaching staff would like to come up against to really test their boys and I think the excitement's already started again."
The plan moving forward...
Arnold: "At the start of June, the overseas-based Olyroos will be given a chance - there will be a camp and a tournament that they will play in. The boys here in the A-League will stay and finish the season out and all the clubs will release players for us by June 30, so the boys can be in Tokyo for July 1. There we will have a good three-and-a-half week preparation over in Tokyo, where we will have four friendly games and be ready for that first game."