Australia national under-23 soccer team

Australia under-23
Nickname(s) Olyroos
Association Football Federation Australia
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Sub-confederation AFF (South-East Asia)
Head coach Josep Gombau
Captain Mustafa Amini
Top scorer Mark Viduka (17)
First colours
Second colours
First international
 New Caledonia 2–1 Australia 
(Noumea, New Caledonia; 6 November 1967)
Biggest win
 Australia 12–0 Vanuatu 
(Adelaide, Australia; 25 January 1996)
Biggest defeat
 Australia 1–6 Poland 
(Barcelona, Spain; 5 August 1992)

The Australia national under-23 soccer team represents Australia in international under-23 Association football and at the Olympic Games. The team is controlled by the governing body for soccer in Australia, Football Federation Australia (FFA), which is currently a member of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) and the regional ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) since leaving the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) in 2006. The team's official nickname is the Olyroos.

Australia's first two appearances in the Olympic Games saw the senior men's team participate, but in 1992 the eligibility was restricted to players under the age of 23, while in 1996, it was decided to allow teams to choose three over-age players in the final Olympic squads.

The team has represented Australia at the Olympic Games on five occasions, in 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. The team also represented Australia at the AFC U-22 Championship tournament in 2014 and has qualified for the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship.


Early years

The Australian national under-23 team made its international debut in 1967, when it took part in a triangular tournament against New Caledonia and New Zealand in Noumea. Australia lost its first game 2–1 on 6 November, and won its second 1–3 on 10 November, with Gary Manuel supplying goals in both games.[1] The team would next played almost eighth years later in 1974, in a tour of Indonesia, sponsored by the Australian Government. During the tour, Australia, coached by Eric Worthington, won all three match against the host nation.[2] It would then be another 16 years before the team competed in international competition of any kind.

In August 1990, Australia played a series of friendly matches in Europe under coach Eddie Thomson. The first against Switzerland ended in a 0–0 draw. The second match was played against the League of Ireland XI, and ended in a 2–2 draw, with goals from Gary Hasler and John Gibson. Australia's final match was lost 2–0 against Czechoslovakia.[3]

1992 Barcelona Olympics

Arguably Australia's most successful Olympic football tournament, the squad coached by Eddie Thomson contained just two overseas based players: KV Mechelen striker Zlatko Arambasic and Club Brugge midfielder Paul Okon, as the rest of the squad hailed from NSL clubs. The squad saw Mark Bosnich, John Filan, Tony Vidmar and Tony Popovic, and most importantly, Ned Zelic, who had virtually single handedly gotten the Olyroos to Barcelona with a sensational double strike in the second leg play off against the much admired Dutch team, take part before commencing their successful careers in Europe.

Drawn with Mexico, Denmark and Ghana, the Olyroos would take on the Africans in Zaragoza in their first round fixture. An early goal on 12 minutes, a long range free kick by Mohammed Gargo set the tone for Ghana as they held onto that lead until the 83rd minute when it was extended to 2-0 by Kwame Ayew. Ayew grabbed another on 89 minutes before Tony Vidmar scored a consulation goal for Australia on 91 minutes to bring the score to 3-1.[4] John Filan was eventually dropped after this game after coming under heavy criticism for failing to put up a wall for Ghana's first goal, and the ever green Mark Bosnich was brought in, cementing his spot in the side for the Olympics.

Two days later in Barcelona, Zlatko Arambasic opened the scoring after 20 minutes as Australia lead Mexico 1-0 until the 63rd minute when Jorge Castañeda leveled the tie at 1-1, the game would finish this way which meant that Australia would need to win their last group stage game to proceed to the knock-out stages.[5]

The Olyroos finally put in a performance worthy of note as the entire team began to fire on all cylinders, winning 3-0 against Denmark to book a spot in the quarter-finals. The game saw one first half goal by John Markovski and two second half goals thanks to Damian Mori and Tony Vidmar.[6]

Australia and Ghana progressed to the knock-out stages where Australia were tied to play against Sweden in Barcelona. In front of 30, 000 spectators at the Camp Nou, John Markovski put Australia ahead after 30 minutes. A 53rd-minute strike by Shaun Murphy put the Olyroos 2-0 up until Patrik Andersson scored one back for Sweden on 62 minutes. The game stayed at 2-1 and the result sent the Olyroos to the semi-finals where they would face Poland.[7]

At the Camp Nou in front of 45,000 spectators, Poland struck on 27 minutes, taking the lead after a goal from Wojciech Kowalczyk. Australia, however, hit back on 35 minutes when Adelaide City striker Carl Veart equalised. Just before half time though, Mark Viduka lashed out at a Polish defender, earning himself a straight red card, and leaving the Australian's a man down against a Polish side who were technically gifted all over the park. Poland truly came to life in the second period, putting on a dazzling display of soccer and scoring five goals in the process, which saw a hat-trick from Andrzej Juskowiak and an own goal from Shaun Murphy, to take out the game at 6-1.[8]

In the Bronze Medal game, Australia would meet up with group stage outfit Ghana, who took the lead when Isaac Asare scored after 19 minutes and eventually winning the game 1-0, the result left the Olyroos to claim fourth spot at the tournament, as Spain would finish in first place after beating Poland 3-2.[9]

1996 Atlanta Olympics

Eddie Thomson took a young squad to the United States, which included Aurelio Vidmar and Steve Horvat as the overaged players, the squad was combined of 7 overseas players out of the 18 men squad. A young Mark Viduka was in his second year at Dinamo Zagreb in Croatia and Kevin Muscat had just signed with English Premier League club Crystal Palace. Drawn into Group B with European heavy weights Spain and France, as well as Saudi Arabia, the Olyroos would lose 2-0 to France in their opening clash thanks to goals from Robert Pires and Florian Maurice, as Australia's Danny Tiatto saw a red card just after 24 minutes.[10] A 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia earnt the Olyroos their first 3 points of the campaign. Peter Tsekenis scored after just 12 minutes before the Saudis were able to draw level through Mohammed Al Khilaiwi on 37 minutes. On 63 minutes Mark Viduka put Australia in front as Australia came out winners at 2-1.[11] After leading Spain 2-0 courtesy of two early goals from Aurelio Vidmar, Raúl González scored one on 40 minutes, Santiago Denia added after 86 minutes to level the tie. Shortly after, the deadlock was broken as Raúl netted on the 90th minute to seal victory for Spain. The result had eliminated Australia from tournament as Spain and France progressed to the knock-out stages.[12]

2000 Sydney Olympics

In a full-strength side, which included Stan Lazaridis, Josip Skoko and Mark Viduka as over aged players, under coach Raul Blanco the Olyroos were drawn against Italy, Nigeria and Honduras in Group A. In front of 93, 252 spectators at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia were defeated 1-0 by an Italian Andrea Pirlo goal after 81 minutes.[13] At the Sydney Football Stadium, Australia's second group stage fixture saw them down 2-0 against Nigeria after just 22 minutes. Two goals in the space of just four minutes from Hayden Foxe and Kasey Wehrman saw Australia draw level just before half time. The second half saw the expulsion of both Brett Emerton and Celestine Babayaro ten minutes after play had commenced. On 64 minutes, Victor Agali's goal was enough to see Nigeria take out the game at 3-2.[14] The result meant that Australia had been knocked out of the tournament with one match remaining. In Sydney, Honduras sealed a 2-1 victory after a brace by Cagliari striker David Suazo.[15] Hondouras would finish in third place, Nigeria and Italy finished in the top two positions whereas the hosts finished in bottom spot on 0 points, much to the disappointment of the local media and then-active Australian Soccer Association.

2004 Athens Olympics

Frank Farina took an 18-man squad which included Milwall's Tim Cahill, Osasuna's striker John Aloisi and Rangers' defender Craig Moore as over aged players. The squad proved to be good enough to reach the final itself, drawing 1-1 with Tunisia thanks to an Aloisi equaliser and beating Serbia and Montenegro in a 5-1 thrashing which saw a brace from Aloisi, Ahmad Elrich and a goal by Cahill.[16][17] Australia would lose 1-0 to Argentina when Andrés D'Alessandro scored after 9 minutes in their final group stage game as both teams went on to qualify for the knock out stages.[18] Australia would meet Iraq at the quarter-final stage where Emad Mohammed scored after 64 minutes, sending Iraq through to the semi-finals as they won the game 1-0.[19]

2008 Beijing Olympics

The 'Olyroos' at Bluetongue Stadium during 2007
The starting team for the Olyroos match against Yemen on 19 June 2011

The Olyroos' first qualifying game for the 2008 Beijing Olympics was held on 7 February 2007, when Australia hosted Taiwan in Adelaide. Midfielder Kristian Sarkies became the first player to score a hat-trick for the Under-23's in the Asian competition and Australia won the home tie 11–0. They then travelled to Taipei and narrowly edged out the home side 1–0 in difficult conditions to advance to the second stage of the qualifications. In February 2007 the Olyroos played Iran in the first game of the second round, which resulted in a 0–0 draw. In the second game of the round, against Jordan in Adelaide, they drew 1–1. This result left Australia in second spot, four points behind leaders Saudi Arabia. Against Saudi Arabia, Australia won the first leg 2–0 and lost 2–1 in the second. In May 2007 they defeated Iran 3–1. Australia qualified for the third and final round of the Asian qualifications after beating Jordan 4–0 in their final game in June 2007. The Olyroos met Iraq, Korea DPR and Lebanon at the final round (August till November 2007). Australia started their campaign with a scoreless draw against Iraq in Doha. Then the Olyroos went on to win their home games against North Korea (1–0) and Lebanon (3–0). After another scoreless draw against Lebanon in Beirut, Australia was behind Iraq with both eight points but Iraq leading because of the better goal difference. The decisive match was held in Gosford on 17 November 2007 and saw the Olyroos emerging as 2–0 winners thanks to goal from Adrian Leijer and Mark Milligan. The following 1–1 draw against North Korea in Pyongyang sealed Australia's qualification for Beijing, as they finished as group winners with 12 points, one more than Iraq.

When the eventual tournament took place in August 2008, the Olyroos were drawn against Argentina, Côte d'Ivoire and Serbia where coach Graham Arnold had controversially left out overseas-based players Nathan Burns and Bruce Djite, which left half of the squad including domestic players. A hopeful squad looked upon by the public which included Nuremberg's Matthew Spiranovic and Gençlerbirliği's James Troisi, the experience of Archie Thompson and Jade North were included as the over aged players. Shanghai was the venue of Australia's first group stage clash against Serbia, which saw them go in front after 69 minutes thanks to a Ruben Zadkovich goal. Slobodan Rajković however leveled the scores after 78 minutes to end the game at 1-1.[20] Australia's second game was against Argentina, who had beaten Ivory Coast 2-1 in their opening clash. The Olyroos held the Albiceleste at 0-0 until Napoli's Ezequiel Lavezzi latched on to a cross to score after 76 minutes. The full strength Argentina side, a team that included Roman Riquelme, Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi, took out the game at 1-0 which left Australia in a must-win situation against the Ivory Coast.[21] An 81st minute Salomon Kalou strike gave Côte d'Ivoire a 1-0 victory knocking Australia out of the tournament.[22]

2012 London Olympics

Under coach Aurelio Vidmar, Australia commenced their qualification for the 2012 London Olympic soccer tournament in the second round of qualification where they faced Yemen in a two-game series, the first on 19 June 2011 at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford and the second on 23 June at Newcastle International Sports Centre in Newcastle. Australia won 7-0 on aggregate and progressed to the next stage. For the third round of the qualifiers Australia was drawn into Group B with Iraq, Uzbekistan and the United Arab Emirates, with the group's fixtures commencing in September 2011 and concluding in March 2012. Australia's attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games failed, with the team finishing last in their group, with four draws and two losses. All four draws were nil-all and Australia failed to score in all six games.[23]

2013 AFC U-22 Championship

In July 2012 the Olyroos travelled to Pekanbaru, Indonesia for the qualification round to participate in the inaugural 2013 AFC U-22 Championship. Wins over Indonesia, Macau and Timor-Leste, a draw with Singapore and a heavy loss to Japan left Australia in second place in the group. This was enough to qualify to the final tournament which was hosted by Oman in January 2014. Despite a 4-0 loss to Japan in the group stage, Australia still managed to top their group, but were eliminated in the quarter final after a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia.

2016 AFC U-23 Championship

The 2016 AFC U-23 Championship final tournament was held in Qatar from 12–30 January 2016. Australia qualified for the tournament by winning all three group matches in the qualification stage in Taiwan in March 2015. The Olyroos recorded comprehensive victories; 6-0 against Hong Kong with Jamie Maclaren scoring three; 4-0 against the hosts Chinese Taipei and 5-1 over Myanmar where Andrew Hoole scored a hatrick.

The 2016 AFC U-23 Championship doubled as the qualifying tournament for the 2016 Summer Olympics Football tournament in Rio de Janeiro. Australia were eliminated from the championship in the group stage. A 1-0 loss to United Arab Emirates followed by a 2-0 win over Vietnam meant that Australia needed to defeat Jordan in the final group match. A nil-all draw resulted in the elimination for Australia from the tournament and hence failure to qualify for the Olympics for the second consecutive time.

Coaching staff

Position Name
Head coach Spain Josep Gombau
Assistant coach TBD
Goalkeeping coach Australia John Crawley


Current squad

The following players have been called up for the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship.[24] Caps and goals correct as of 20 January 2016.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Duncan, JackJack Duncan (1993-04-19) 19 April 1993 9 0 Australia Newcastle Jets
12 1GK Lennox, AaronAaron Lennox (1993-02-19) 19 February 1993 7 0 Scotland Raith Rovers
18 1GK Hall, JohnJohn Hall (1994-10-23) 23 October 1994 3 0 Australia Adelaide United

2 2DF Geria, JasonJason Geria (1993-05-10) 10 May 1993 8 0 Australia Melbourne Victory
3 2DF Gallifuoco, GiancarloGiancarlo Gallifuoco (1994-01-12) 12 January 1994 9 0 England Torquay United
4 2DF Donachie, JamesJames Donachie (1993-05-14) 14 May 1993 8 1 Australia Melbourne Victory
5 2DF Burgess, CameronCameron Burgess (1995-10-21) 21 October 1995 7 0 England Oldham Athletic
6 2DF Brillante, JoshuaJoshua Brillante (1993-03-25) 25 March 1993 10 1 Australia Sydney FC
15 2DF Galloway, ScottScott Galloway (1995-04-25) 25 April 1995 13 0 Australia Central Coast Mariners
20 2DF Gersbach, AlexAlex Gersbach (1997-05-08) 8 May 1997 3 0 Norway Rosenborg
23 2DF Deng, ThomasThomas Deng (1997-03-20) 20 March 1997 1 0 Netherlands Jong PSV

7 3MF Hoole, AndrewAndrew Hoole (1993-10-22) 22 October 1993 16 4 Australia Newcastle Jets
8 3MF Edwards, RyanRyan Edwards (1993-11-11) 11 November 1993 18 0 Scotland Partick Thistle
10 3MF Amini, MustafaMustafa Amini (1993-04-20) 20 April 1993 18 4 Denmark AGF
13 3MF Mauk, StefanStefan Mauk (1995-10-12) 12 October 1995 9 0 Netherlands NEC
14 3MF Antonis, TerryTerry Antonis (1993-11-26) 26 November 1993 3 0 Greece Veria
16 3MF Ugarković, StevenSteven Ugarković (1994-08-19) 19 August 1994 11 0 Australia Newcastle Jets
19 3MF O'Neill, BrandonBrandon O'Neill (1994-04-12) 12 April 1994 2 0 Australia Sydney FC

9 4FW Maclaren, JamieJamie Maclaren (1993-07-29) 29 July 1993 15 9 Australia Brisbane Roar
11 4FW Pain, ConnorConnor Pain (1993-11-11) 11 November 1993 15 2 Australia Central Coast Mariners
17 4FW Sotirio, JaushuaJaushua Sotirio (1995-10-11) 11 October 1995 4 1 Australia Western Sydney Wanderers
21 4FW Borrello, BrandonBrandon Borrello (1995-07-25) 25 July 1995 3 0 Australia Brisbane Roar
22 4FW Taggart, AdamAdam Taggart (1993-06-02) 2 June 1993 13 2 Australia Perth Glory

Recent call-ups

The following players have also been called up to the squad within the last 12 months.

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Izzo, PaulPaul IzzoINJ (1995-01-06) 6 January 1995 1 0 Australia Central Coast Mariners 2016 AFC U-23 Championship PRE

MF De Silva, DanielDaniel De Silva (1997-03-06) 6 March 1997 7 0 Netherlands Roda JC 2016 AFC U-23 Championship PRE
MF Ikonomidis, ChrisChris Ikonomidis (1995-05-05) 5 May 1995 7 0 Denmark AGF 2016 AFC U-23 Championship PRE

Recent results and fixtures

Competitive record

Summer Olympics

Summer Olympics record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
19001988 See Australia national team
Spain 1992 Fourth place 4th 6 2 1 3 8 12
United States 1996 Group stage 13th 3 1 0 2 4 6
Australia 2000 Group stage 15th 3 0 0 3 3 6
Greece 2004 Quarter-finals 7th 4 1 1 2 6 4
China 2008 Group stage 11th 3 0 1 2 1 3
United Kingdom 2012 Did not qualify
Brazil 2016
Japan 2020 To be determined
Total Fourth place 5/6 19 4 3 12 22 31

AFC U-23 Championship

AFC U-23 Championship record
Year Result Position Pld W D L GF GA
Oman 2013 Quarter-finals 6th 4 2 0 2 3 6
Qatar 2016 Group stage 9th 3 1 1 1 2 1
Total Quarter-finals 2/2 7 3 1 3 5 7


  1. "Australian Under 23 National Team Matches for 1967". Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  2. "Australian Under 23 Internationals for 1974". Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  3. "Olyroo Matches for 1990". Retrieved 17 January 2014.
  4. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  5. "Previous Tournaments". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  6. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  7. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  8. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  9. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  10. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  11. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  12. "". Archived from the original on 22 October 2009. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  13. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  14. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  15. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  16. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  17. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  18. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  19. "". Retrieved 2011-07-05.
  20. Archived 23 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. Archived 9 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. Archived 11 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  24. "Aurelio Vidmar names Olyroos squad for Olympic games qualifying". Football Federation Australia. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.

External links

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