Seeded in a group filled with talented opposition, the Olyroos will be eager to get their Olympic campaign off to a strong start against South American heavyweights, Argentina.
Heading into Thursday’s clash, the Olyroos managed to break a four-game losing streak with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand.
Many Australians will be hoping the win could serve as a turning point that leads to an upset against the Argentinians.
Contrary to their opponent’s form, Argentina will begin their pursuit for a third gold medal in men’s football on a three-game unbeaten run.
During the run, the Argentinians defeated Saudi Arabia, Denmark and drew with South Korea.
The last time these two nations met at the Olympics was the 2008 edition in Beijing.
Argentina won the contest 1-0 thanks to Ezequiel Lavezzi’s goal which, knocked Australia out of the group stage in the process.
Even though they faced a team with generational superstars like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, the Olyroos kept within arms reach of their opposition and are striving to go one step further on Thursday.
Keys to Victory:
Across their last four friendlies, the Olyroos have conceded four times in the final half of the game.
On the other hand, Argentina has scored five second-half goals in their past three matches.
Based on this comparison, an improved second-half performance from the Australian’s could position them for a shock victory.
In each of their three warm-up games, Argentina scored twice against their opponents.
Since Australia has conceded five times over their past three matches, La Albiceleste should aim to smother the Olyroos under attacking pressure early and continue their impressive goalscoring form.
Player to Watch
An emerging star at Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion, Alex Mac Allister’s vast skill-set will be on display when he takes the field for Argentina at the Olympics.
Capable of playing as a central or attacking midfielder, the 22-year-old has been remarkable for the Argentinian Under-23 side, scoring four goals in five international caps.
Mac Allister’s ability to split defences with his passing and score from long range will give the Olyroos defenders plenty to think about leading up to Thursday’s match.
Argentina vs Australia, Group C.
Date: Thursday, July 22
Kick-off: 8:30 pm AEST
Venue: Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan