5 players to watch on the Olyroos road to Rio

The Olyroos are in Doha for the AFC Under-23 Championship, which doubles as a qualifying tournament for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

Amini

Source: Getty Images Asia Pacific

But it's not going to be easy. The Olyroos are in Group D with Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. 

The top two sides from each group progress to the quarter finals, and the top three teams in the knock out stage qualify for Rio - the winner and the loser of the final qualify, and the third place play-off effectively becomes a sudden death Olympic Games qualifier. 

The campaign starts in the early hours of Friday morning (and will be ) and there's plenty of work to do if our Olyroos want to emulate their senior counterparts and head to Rio. 

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Here are The World Game's picks for players to watch.

Terry Antonis

The PAOK playmaker links up with the squad after finally making his European dream come true.

Antonis had a stellar season in the A-League last time around and has shaken off his injury woes to make a couple of appearances in the Greek Football Cup.

He will come into the tournament lightly raced, but fresh and keen to make an impression in a side laden with attacking talent. 



Jamie Maclaren Image

The Brisbane Roar hotshot has found himself under the tutelage of John Aloisi and he will be relied upon to find the back of the net in this tournament. 

Maclaren has graduated from a super-sub to bona fide goalscorer since his move to the Roar, and his seven A-League goals leaves him behind only Bruno Fornaroli and Besart Berisha in the race for the golden boot. 

Mustafa Amini

Amini


Diminutive playmaker Amini has kicked back into gear since leaving German giants Borussia Dortmund without making a first team appearance. 

16 appearances (10 from the start) this season haven't yielded a goal, but at this stage, regular football is enough for the lively attacker to continue his previously stalled development. 

His link-up with Antonis will give the Olyroos the spark they need to trouble the tournament's best sides.

Josh Brillante

Brillante is another who seems to be back on track after a difficult start to life overseas.

He's had to drop down a division to do it, but 10 appearances for Como in Italy's Serie B mean he too is getting the football he needs. 

The combative midfielder will do the dirty work for the likes of Antonis and Amini, and he is a key cog in Aurelio Vidmar's set up. 

Cameron Burgess

20-year-old Burgess is an intriguing prospect.

Th Fulham defender is likely to marshall a defence which by nature is inexperienced - James Donachie, Giancarlo Gallifuoco and Thomas Deng are also in the mix.

Burgess will need to be rock solid in the heart of the defence if the Olyroos have any chance of heading to Rio.

 



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3 min read
Published 14 January 2016 at 10:39am
By Matthew Connellan
Source: The World Game