Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar wants his players to take inspiration from the Socceroos - and he'll have Socceroo striker Adam Taggart at his disposal when Rio Olympics qualifiers kick-off on Friday night.
Speaking on the eve of his side’s opening AFC Under-23 Championships clash against Hong Kong on Friday night in Chinese Taipei, Vidmar urged the Olyroos to follow the example set by the Asian Cup-winning Socceroos.
Ange Postecoglou’s side, who drew 2-2 with world champions Germany on Thursday morning (AEDT), have played a fearless, exciting, attacking brand of football over the last 18 months and are reaping the rewards.
And Vidmar expects his side to take the same approach into this tournament in Chinese Taipei.
“Its modern football and this is how we see the game should be played,” Vidmar told reporters.
“It’s got to be quick, it’s got to be dynamic. You need technical, quick players. This is the way football should be played and the most successful teams over the last decade have played like that.
“We’ve got our own twist to it because that’s the Australian way. We have an enormous appetite to succeed and be aggressive.
“We don’t want to soak up pressure, we want to take it to the opposition. We’re not frightened to match it with the very best and that was proved [by the Socceroos] at the World Cup and then the Asian Cup.
“[The Socceroos’ success] should be a huge motivation for these boys. I keep telling them whatever happens here gets reported back to Ange, gets reported back to the federation.
“If they have serious ambitions of making an international career with the Socceroos, well this is the next step. They’re only one step away from getting a phone call to say ‘you’re coming to represent the Socceroos’
“Strong performances here will lead to senior selection and I have no doubt there’s players here after this period will certainly get a look in.”
Vidmar said he has yet to finalise on his starting XI for the group opener, but confirmed striker Adam Taggart had shrugged off injury and should be right to go.
Following the game with Hong Kong, the Olyroos face host-nation Chinese Taipei on Sunday then finish with Myanmar on March 31.
“There’s pressure every time you go and coach and play a game but it’s not something I think about,” Vidmar said of the expectation to progress from the group.
“No one’s got the magic wand to say we’re going to qualify. It’s a hard slog. There’s only three teams that qualify in this area [Asia], not four like previously and you have to be at the top of your game, right down to the last minute to make sure you get the result.
“A lot of nations in this area are putting a lot of money into development. A lot are in full times programs so they are with each other day in, day out for the whole season which is great for them.
“On paper it looks an easy assignment but they never are. We have to pay the upmost respect to these teams but we want to play our way, our style, be on the front foot and not fear anyone.”
There is always the debate at youth level about the need to get results over teaching the players to perform the right way and while Vidmar admits it’s a fine balance, he said qualifying for the major tournament is a must.
“It fits hand in hand really. We have to go along the path of giving these guys education of how the game should be played the Australian way but we have to mindful of getting results as well,” he said.
“Qualifying for the Olympics is a major priority. Going to an Olympic games in fantastic and you want your players to be playing at that level.
“It’s important for them to get that exposure.”
To progress to the AFC U-23 Championship, the Olyroos need to finish top of Group F in Chinese Taipei or be one of the best five second place teams.
The AFC U-23 Championship, which will be played in Qatar in January 2016, also doubles as the qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games.
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