The Socceroos have locked in a tantalising friendly match against world champions Argentina in Beijing on June 15.
Argentina’s football association confirmed via social media on Monday the long-rumoured friendly clash in China will go ahead, just over six months after Argentina beat Australia 2-1 in the World Cup round of 16 in Qatar.
Argentina will also play Indonesia in Jakarta four days later.
Football Australia had been in negotiations this month regarding the friendly, with Socceroos coach Graham Arnold desperate for the clash to get up, citing the importance of facing top opposition ahead of a new World Cup cycle.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina are the world No.1 in the latest FIFA rankings, with Australia sitting 29th.
The match, along with October’s hotly-anticipated friendly against England at Wembley, will be crucial preparation for Australia’s World Cup qualifiers and their tilt at the Asian Cup in January.
“It’d be amazing. I just get goosebumps now thinking about it,” Arnold told reporters earlier this month.
“If this game comes off, it’d just be fantastic to play against the world champions at the moment.
“There’s no better way to test players than put them out against top opposition, because if you put them out against the lower opposition, well, then you’re not learning too much about the players.
“So I want these tough games. I want to play against teams that are going to push us to the limit and we’ll push them to the limit.
“Those type of games are crucial to our preparation and making us get better.”
Argentina ended Australia’s golden run in Qatar via goals to Messi and Julian Alvarez, though Craig Goodwin forced a late Enzo Fernandez own goal to send the clash down to the wire.
The match will be the Socceroos’ first since a pair of home friendlies against Ecuador in March.
Football Australia CEO James Johnson confirmed the match details.
“To secure a match against the World Champions Argentina reflects Australia’s standing within world football and the respect that the top nations have for both our senior national teams,” he said in a statement.
“Football is truly the global game and for Australia to be invited to play this match in China, and against the world number one, we hope this will open further opportunities for our two nations to work together both on and off the football field.”
Australia’s senior men’s national team last played in China in 2008, when they met China in a FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Kunming.