The Olyroos’ roadmap for July’s Tokyo Games has taken a sudden detour, with the Covid-induced cancellation of the looming Maurice Revello Tournament in Toulon.
The 12-nation French hit-out - slated to run from late May till mid-June - was canned for logistical reasons, including ongoing travel restrictions surrounding the coronavirus.
But Football Australia have moved swiftly to ensure much needed warm-up competition for Graham Arnold’s charges heading in to the Olympics, where they face the daunting prospect of Argentina, Spain and Egypt in the the group stage.
The Spanish Mediterranean coastal retreat of Marbella has been mentioned as a possible alternative, with the FA looking to tee-up at least four friendly internationals for a squad comprised of European-based players.
Though not yet locked in, the signs are promising for a number of quality opponents who will provide the Olyroos the calibre of workouts required as they prepare to hit the ground in Tokyo on July 1.
They will play four more warm-ups in Japan before their Group C opener against Argentina on July 22.
Dual Socceroos and Olyroos coach Arnold urgently needs to get minutes into the legs of a number of overseas-based hopefuls who have struggled, for various reasons, for game time at their respective clubs.
That group includes Paderborn’s John Iredale, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s Noah Botic, and AGF Aarhus’ Daniel Arzani.
Fulham’s Tyrese Francois and Brentford youngster Lachlan Brook are also in the mix.
With Arnold otherwise engaged in Kuwait, where the Socceroos will be in FIFA World Cup qualification action, Gary van Egmond was due to take charge in Toulon, and will now be on standby for Marbella should games there proceed.
Arnold is set to name his 18-man squad for Tokyo towards the end of June, and has yet to decide whether or not to name any of the permitted three over-age players.
He is also allowed to call in four train-on players. It’s looking likely the final 18 will include around six or seven overseas-based Aussies with the rest picked from the A-League.
Football Australia were contacted for comment.