Olyroos continue Tokyo 2020 preparations and get set for Sapporo switch

Australia’s Olyroos continued their preparations for the forthcoming Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament with a behind-closed-doors training match against New Zealand on Thursday evening.

Mitch Duke’s third minute strike at the ZA Oripri Stadium in Ichihara City separated the two sides at half- and full-time in a match less about the outcome and more about the physical and tactical preparations of the two nations heading into their respective Tokyo 2020 campaigns.

Graham Arnold’s Olyroos and Danny Hay’s OlyWhites both took the opportunity to rotate their sides – and Australia its system – throughout the 90 minutes in Chiba Prefecture, as the Trans-Tasman rivals each geared up for the start of the Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament next week.

ULTIMATE GUIDE: How to watch the Olyroos at Tokyo 2020

Men's National Team Hub Thin Banner

Australia started with a line-up of Ashley Maynard-Brewer between the posts, with Nathaniel Atkinson, captain Harry Souttar, Jay Rich-Baghuelou, Kye Rowles, Riley McGree, Denis Genreau, Connor Metcalfe, Daniel Arzani, Duke, and Lachlan Wales ahead of the Charlton Athletic custodian.

Just over 60 minutes into the match Arnold injected seven fresh players into the action, with Reno Piscopo, Cameron Devlin, Caleb Watts, Keanu Baccus, Marco Tilio, and Jordan Holmes entering into the contest for Duke, Wales, Rich-Baghuelou, Metcalfe, Genreau, Arzani, and Maynard-Brewer respectively.

The training match offered the Olyroos the chance to spread the match minutes for the group, who on Saturday will depart their bubble in Ichihara City east of Tokyo for Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido.

In Sapporo, Australia will spend four important days preparing for its first match of the Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament, which will be played against Argentina on Thursday, 22 July at 7.30pm local time (8.30pm AEST).

Australia’s men’s football team in Japan will also meet Spain in Group C action in Sapporo on July 25, before rounding out pool play with a fixture against Egypt at the Miyagi Stadium in Rifu on Wednesday, 28 July.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – being held in 2021 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic – represent a return to men’s football representation at the Olympic Games. Australia’s male footballers were last part of the Australian Olympic Team at Beijing 2008 thirteen (13) years ago.

22 players have been selected to represent the Olyroos in Tokyo. Australia’s squad is made up of players plying their trade professionally in Australia, England, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

All of the Olyroos’ matches at Tokyo 2020 will be broadcast live through the Seven Network.

Tokyo 2020 Men’s Football Tournament – Group C 

Match 1: Argentina v Australia 

Date: Thursday, 22 July 2021
Venue: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan
Kick-off: 7:30pm local; 8:30pm AEST 
Broadcast: Seven Network

Match 2: Australia v Spain 
Date: Sunday, 25 July 2021 
Venue: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan
Kick-off: 7:30pm local; 8:30pm AEST
Broadcast: Seven Network

Match 3: Australia v Egypt 
Date: Wednesday, 28 July 2021
Venue: Miyagi Stadium, Rifu, Japan
Kick-off: 8pm local; 9pm AEST 
Broadcast: Seven Network

For more, you can check out all of our exclusive pre-Olympic content here.