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The Roar



Same old story when it comes to tournament football and the Olyroos

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Roar Guru
7th June, 2023

The Maurice Revello Tournament is regarded as one of the finest tournaments for under 23 footballers in the world.

Global superstars like Alan Shearer, Rui Costa, Thierry Henry, Juan Roman Riqueleme and James Rodriguez have all cut their teeth throughout the years at the tournament – it has generally been a good guide for scouts and recruiters in terms of who will make it professionally.

Having an Australia team in the 2023 tournament is a coup that Football Australia must be applauded on, especially as Australia as a football nation has neglected tournament football for all its age groups for far too long.

The 2023 version of the tournament has an interesting concept when it comes to draws in the group stage – in the event of a draw, the two teams face each other in a penalty shoot-out, with a bonus point for the winners.

This scenario came into play in the Olyroos first game against Qatar, 0-0 at full time and then losing in the penalty shootout 4-3 with Qatar gaining the additional point.

Once again though, this tournament has already demonstrated how ineffective the Olyroos are as an attacking unit – a trait that has haunted many underage Australian sides.

Australia dominated possession for the 90 mins and were extremely unlucky to not score with the best chance of the match – Noah Botic somehow forcing the Qatari keeper into save when it looked odds on that he would score from a pin point Cameron Pepupion cross.


Against the run of play several minutes later Qatars Khalid Ali Sabah had a shot cannon off the woodwork – he was the team’s best player in the first half and drew multiple fouls from the Olyroos throughout it.

The olyroos pushed and probed for a goal in the second half, but found a very resolute Qatar defence – that was playing for penalties.

In a chaotic end to the match Mohammed Emad Omar Aiash was shown a straight red for professionally fouling Noah Botic in injury time – who was bearing down on goal.

With the ref blowing his whistle to signal full time, both sides went on to the dreaded penalty shoot out.

Qatar went a perfect 4 out of 4 from the spot, while Australia hds Noah Botic, Ryan Teague & Louis D’Arrigo expertly dispatch theirs – before Josh Rawlings saw his attempt saved and then Calum Nieuwnhof blazed over the bar

Coach Tony Vidmar will come under some flak for his selection of players, formation & tactics.

Jacob Italiano has played at right back before in his younger years, but is far more effective as a right winger – the position he plays with his club in Germany.


Josh Rawlings is predominantly a right back, but has been playing with his Dutch club as a centreback this season – which Vidmar seems to have mimicked.

The three-man midfield was industrious, but lacked the creativity to break down a stubborn defence – the Olyroos only attacking midfielder that was selected for the tournament, Keegan Jelacic did not play a single minute

The lack of creativity is a much wider problem that effects the majority of attacking players coming through Australia’s many junior clubs.

That type of imagination and flair to be able to beat a player or a risky defence splitting pass is continually being coached out of Australia’s best junior players – by coaches who seem to only want to maintain their sides shape, zonal pressing and positional defensive actions.

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The olyroos will have much sterner tests than Qatar in a Mediterranean Select XI and Mexico in the final 2 group games.


Vidmar must find a way for this young team to break down opposition’s defences, if not – they face the likelihood of finishing bottom of the group at the prestigious Maurice Revello tournament

Australia’s final twi group games will be live on ESPN, while all other group stage matches (including Australia’s) plus the semifinals and final will be streamed LIVE via the WatchESPN App.

• Australia vs. Mediterranean XI (10:00 p.m.)

• Mexico vs. Australia (10:00 p.m.)