Blackwood and Marguš named in squad for 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers in Cambodia


Adelaide United pair George Blackwood and Daniel Marguš have been selected in Graham Arnold's 24-player* squad to venture to Kuala Lumpur and onto Phnom Penh for Australia’s 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualification matches against Cambodia, Chinese Taipei, and Korea Republic.

A mix of Hyundai A-League-based players and eight professionals currently contracted abroad will convene in Southeast Asia next week as Australia prepares to compete in Group H of qualification from March 22 to 26. 

Following the week-long camp in Kuala Lumpur – which will include friendly fixtures against Malaysian Super League side Petaling Jaya City FC (14 March) and the Malaysian U-22 National Team (17 March) – Australia will shift its base to Phnom Penh where a first place finish in Group H would seal a place at the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship.

Australia would also qualify for the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship should the squad finish as one of the four best second-placed teams in qualifying. The fifth-best second-placed team from the 11 groups will also qualify should Thailand – who have qualified automatically for the tournament as hosts – finish as either Group K winners or runners-up.

Australian U-23 National Team Head Coach, Arnold, said that with many Asian nations rapidly improving across the continent, the time spent together ahead of the qualifiers will be critical to Australia’s aim of securing a place at the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship – a tournament that will serve as Asia’s qualification path for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. 

“We have had three short camps in Canberra with the squad and during that time we have looked at 38 players,” Arnold said. 

“The week that we have together in Kuala Lumpur will be vital in preparing us for the challenges that we will face in Phnom Penh, and we certainly appreciate the support of all the clubs that are releasing their players to participate in what is an important tournament for Australia.” 

“While we are in Malaysia we will develop our key principles of play and focus on how we believe we can successfully navigate Group H and secure our place at next year’s AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand.

“Our three matches in Cambodia represent our first step on the path to next year’s Olympic Games, and everyone involved with our squad is eager to help Australia return to the men’s football tournament for the first time since Beijing in 2008,” he said.

Hyundai A-League-based players in Arnold’s squad will miss only one round (22) as the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers are being held in a FIFA window.

*One player from the 24-player squad listed below will be omitted prior to the qualifiers in Cambodia.

Australian U-23 National Team Squad | 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers | 22-26 March (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)

Name

Club, Country

Nathaniel ATKINSON

Melbourne City FC, Australia

Keanu BACCUS

Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

George BLACKWOOD

Adelaide United, Australia

Jake BRIMMER

Perth Glory FC, Australia

Joseph CHAMPNESS

Newcastle Jets FC, Australia

Nicholas D’AGOSTINO

Brisbane Roar FC, Australia

Thomas DENG

Melbourne Victory FC, Australia

Denis GENREAU

PEC Zwolle, Netherlands

Alex GERSBACH

NAC Breda, Netherlands

Thomas GLOVER (Gk)

Tottenham Hotspur, England

Jordan HOLMES (Gk)

St Mirren, Scotland

John KOUTROUMBIS

Newcastle Jets FC, Australia

Abraham MAJOK

Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

Daniel MARGUSH (Gk)

Adelaide United, Australia

Riley MCGREE

Melbourne City FC, Australia

Tass MOURDOUKOUTAS

Western Sydney Wanderers FC, Australia

Aiden O’NEILL

Central Coast Mariners FC, Australia

Sebastian PASQUALI

Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands

Reno PISCOPO

AC Renate, Italy

Harry SOUTTAR

Stoke City, England

Ivan VUJICA

Newcastle Jets FC, Australia

Lachlan WALES

Melbourne City FC, Australia

Pierce WARING

Cerezo Osaka, Japan

Brandon WILSON

Perth Glory FC, Australia


Upcoming Matches | Australian U-23 National Team

Petaling Jaya City FC v Australia U-23 (Friendly)

Date: Thursday, 14 March 2019
Venue: TBC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kick-off: 9.00pm (local); 12.00am +1 (AEDT)

Malaysia U-22 v Australia U-23 (Friendly)
Date: Sunday, 17 March 2019
Venue: Shah Alam Stadium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kick-off: 8.45pm (local); 11.45pm (AEDT)

Australia U-23 v Cambodia U-23 (2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualification – Group H)
Date: Friday, 22 March 2019
Venue: Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Kick-off: 6.30pm (local); 10.30pm (AEDT)

Chinese Taipei U-23 v Australia U-23 (2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualification – Group H)
Date: Sunday, 24 March 2019
Venue: Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Kick-off: 3.30pm (local); 7.30pm (AEDT)

Korea Republic U-23 v Australia U-23 (2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualification – Group H)
Date: Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Venue: Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Kick-off: 3.30pm (local); 7.30pm (AEDT)