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Olyroos resistance broken late: How tense battle with Spain unfolded

(Photo: Getty Images)
25th July, 2021
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Do we dare to dream? After the Olyroos downed Argentina 2-0 in their Group C opener they suddenly find themselves staring down at the might of pre-tournament favourites Spain. Join us for a live blog on The Roar from 8:30pm AEST.

The Olympics got off to a dream start for Graham Arnold’s men after Lachie Wales and substitute Marco Tilio fired the Olyroos to a deserved 2-0 win over Argentina in Sapporo.

They’ll have to try and repeat the feat at the Sapporo Dome tonight and they’ll do so against a Spain side that was held to a 0-0 draw by Egypt in their group-stage opener.

Five of the starting side that faced Italy in the recent Euro 2020 semi-final lined up for kick-off against Egypt, but despite the presence of Barcelona’s teenage sharpshooter Pedri and Real Sociedad striker Mikel Oyazabal, Spain just couldn’t find a way to break down Egypt’s stubborn defence. They’ll be stinging from that result and coach Luis de la Fuente could be tempted to turn to Wolves striker Rafa Mir in place of the hard-working but often goal-shy Oyazabal.

What was most impressive about Australia’s win over Argentina was the fact the Olyroos didn’t simply park the bus. They could have finished with double the goals and even if Spain are an obvious step up in class, there’s no real reason Graham Arnold’s team should go into this clash fearing a thrashing.

If last Thursday’s result will have done anything, it’s give the Olyroos some much-needed confidence. Plenty of players put themselves in the shop window in the win over Argentina and the game against Spain will be watched by an even bigger audience. This is Australia’s final game at the Sapporo Dome before they move on to the open-air Miyagi Stadium in Rifu. They’ll know what to expect from the venue, but they’ll need to be wary of a Spain side bursting with talent and desperate to claim all three points.

Game information

Kick-off: 8:30pm (AEST)
Venue: Sapporo Dome, Tokyo
TV: Channel Seven
Online: 7plus

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