Do or die for Olyroos in final group game
It’s do or die for the Australian Men’s Olympic Football team (Olyroos) tonight against Côte d’Ivoire at the TJ Olympic Center Stadium in Tianjin.
It-s do or die for the Australian Men-s Olympic Football team (Olyroos) tonight against Côte d-Ivoire at the TJ Olympic Center Stadium in Tianjin.
The Olyroos must beat the Africans to have any chance of advancing through to the quarter finals and rely on Argentina beating Serbia for good measure.
However tonight-s task will be no easy feat, with Ivoirians proving one of the most entertaining teams in the competition and living up to their tag prior to the tournament, as a dark horse for a medal.
Having pushed Argentina in their opening match, before losing 2-1, Côte d-Ivoire (formerly known as Ivory Coast) then smashed Serbia 4-2 in their second game. Hence they pretty much only need a draw to advance, with unlikelihood of Serbia getting a win over Argentina.
The Olyroos hopes have also received a major setback with overage striker Archie Thompson ruled out for the remainder of the tournament, after copping a knock to his ankle against Argentina. Australian officials are working to get Central Coast Mariners striker Matt Simon in as replacement in time for tonight's match, who has been one of the four alternates with the team in China.
"I'm just devastated," Thompson told SBS The World Game website - http://theworldgame.sbs.com.au/ - from Tianjin. "I have not played much the last few months and I was getting into some sort of form during the Argentina match in Shanghai and now this happens. Unbelievable.
"My Games are over, which is a great shame because we need to beat Ivory Coast in our last match to qualify for the last eight."
In Thompson-s absence, coach Graham Arnold will bring either Nikita Rukavytsya or Mark Bridge into the starting side or perhaps both if he decides a more attacking formation is needed.
There is also some doubt over the fitness of Ruben Zadkovich, with either Kristian Sarkies or Trent McClenahan likely to get the nod to replace him, depending on which formation Arnold decides to play.
In Gervinho and Salomon Kalou, they have two players that are world class, with Gervinho their orchestrator around the park. The Elephants are also typical of many African side-s and not afraid to take risks, which makes them highly entertaining to watch, especially when they are in attack.
Australia will have to play the game of its life to get to get through and if they can maintain the spirit they showed against Argentina for long periods and make the most of their chances, then a win for the Olyroos is not out of the question.
Meanwhile in fantastic news for football fans, tonights game can be seen live on SBS from 9.45pm. The match will be shown in its entirety.