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Three Mariners rewarded with National Team honours

Thursday, 10 November 2011 10:00 AM
 

Three Mariners rewarded with National Team honours

Qantas Australian Under 23’s Head Coach Aurelio Vidmar has selected three Central Coast Mariners players in his 19-man squad for the upcoming AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games Third Round matches against Iraq and Uzbekistan.

Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan receives his first call-up to the Qantas Australian Under 23s squad for this campaign, as does left side utility Brad McDonald.

Exciting midfielder Oliver Bozanic – who has skippered throughout much of 2011 – retains his place in the squad that will have a short camp together in Qatar before they face Iraq at the Al Arabi Stadium in Doha on Wednesday 23 November.

An ecstatic McDonald today said he was delighted to be called up to his first full Qantas Australian Under 23’s squad having been included in a recent National Team training camp.

“I feel like I took my chance in Sydney [at the training camp] and now it’s up to me to take my chance again while I’m in the squad,” McDonald said.

McDonald indicated that he would seek some advice from Mariners teammates Bozanic and Ryan, who have been involved in numerous National sides in the past.

“They are both good. Mat was unlucky to miss the [FIFA Under 20] World Cup earlier this year, and ‘Oli’ is captain of the team, so I’m sure they’ll be able to give me a bit of guidance."

Having drawn their opening match of the Third Round of Olympic Qualifiers against United Arab Emirates, Qantas Australian Under 23’s Head Coach Vidmar knows the importance of these upcoming matches in the qualification process.

“We need to get a good result from these two matches to give us the best possible chance of qualifying for the Olympics”, he said.

“With injuries to a number of players we have used in the previous matches, we’ve selected a few new faces following our recent training camp in Sydney.

“It will be up to these players to take their opportunity and step up to the challenge ahead.

“I’m confident that the boys are up to it,” concluded Vidmar.

The Qantas Australian Under 23s will play Iraq in their next AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games match on Tuesday 22 November (Al Arabi Stadium, Doha, Qatar) and then Uzbekistan five days later at Parramatta Stadium in NSW.

The teams in each group of the third round of qualifying play in a home-and-away format from 21 September 2011, to 14 March 14, 2012, with the winner of each group directly qualifying for the London 2012 Olympic Games Football competition. The three second-placed teams from the third round will clash in a playoff at a centralised venue from March 25 to 29, 2012, and the winners of this group will meet the representatives of CAF (Africa) for a berth in the 2012 London Olympic Games.

The AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games match between the Qantas Australian Under 23s and Uzbekistan will also be broadcast live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS.

Upcoming Match Details

AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games – Third Round
Iraq v Qantas Australian U23s
Al Arabi Stadium, Doha, Qatar
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Kick-off: 5:15pm local (1:15 am AEDT)

AFC Asian Qualifiers for the 2012 London Games – Third Round
Qantas Australian U23s v Uzbekistan
Parramatta Stadium, Parramatta
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Kick-off: 7:15pm AEDT

 
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