Vidmar names squad for Road to Rio

Olyroos coach Aurelio Vidmar has named a 23-man squad as Australia launches its campaign to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Road to Rio officially starts this month with qualifiers for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship.

To progress to the championship - which doubles as Olympic qualifiers - the Olyroos need to finish top of Group F or be one of the best five second place teams.

Vidmar has named 11 players from the Hyundai A-League and 12 from overseas clubs for the Group F matches against Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Myanmar in Chinese Taipei.

The squad includes 2014 FIFA World Cup striker Adam Taggart, 2015 AFC Asian Cup winner Terry Antonis, Liverpool FC’s Brad Smith and Empoli midfielder Josh Brillante.

“It’s exciting to start the qualification for the 2016 Olympic Games and we’ve put together a squad that has some good international experience and showing good form at club level, both in Australia and throughout Europe,” Vidmar said.

“The bulk of the squad played in the friendlies late last year when we defeated Korea Republic and drew with Brazil and we have been able to add some experienced firepower in Terry Antonis, Josh Brillante, Adam Taggart, Brad Smith, and Daniel De Silva to that group.”

Vidmar will look to create the same environment and football structures implemented by Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou, which propelled the Socceroos to victory in the Asian Cup.

“An important part of the changes that have been driven by Ange include aligning the structures of all the National teams to enable players to make a smooth transition through the age groups,” Vidmar said.

“The players will operate under the same conditions and structures as the Socceroos so they understand what is required to play international football, which will help in our endeavours to qualify for the Olympic Games but also assist with their development as footballers.”

The AFC U-23 Championship, which will be played in Qatar in 2016, doubles as the qualification tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games.

The top three (3) ranked teams from the AFC U-23 Championship qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games football tournament.

Olyroos squad for AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers - Group F

Mustafa AMINI,               Borussia Dortmund, Germany

Terry ANTONIS,                Sydney FC, Australia

Josh BRILLANTE, Empoli, Italy

Corey BROWN, Brisbane Roar, Australia

Cameron BURGESS, Ross County, Scotland

Daniel DE SILVA, Perth Glory, Australia

James DONACHIE, Brisbane Roar, Australia

Jack DUNCAN (gk), Perth Glory, Australia

Ryan EDWARDS, Reading FC, England

Giancarlo GALLIFUOCO,                Swansea FC, England

Scott GALLOWAY, Melbourne Victory, Australia

Jason GERIA, Melbourne Victory, Australia

John HALL (gk), Adelaide United, Australia

Andrew HOOLE,Newcastle Jets, Australia

Jackson IRVINE,                Ross County, Scotland

Aaron LENNOX (gk), Queens Park Rangers, England

Jamie MACLAREN, Perth Glory, Australia

Connor PAIN, Melbourne Victory, Australia

Brad SMITH, Liverpool, England

Adam TAGGART, Fulham FC, England

Steven UGARKOVIC, NK Osijek, Croatia

Ryan WILLIAMS, Fulham FC, England

Kwame YEBOAH, Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany


AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers – Group F – National Stadium, Kaohsiung City

March 27

Australia v Hong Kong

4pm (7pm AEDT)

Myanmar v Chinese Taipei

7pm       (10pm AEDT)

March 29

Hong Kong v Myanmar

4pm (7pm AEDT)

Chinese Taipei v Australia

7pm (10pm AEDT)

March 31

Australia v Myanmar

4pm (7pm AEDT)

Chinese Taipei v Hong Kong       

7pm (10pm AEDT)