Road to 2012 London Olympics starts in Adelaide

Football Federation Australia (FFA), the South Australian Government and Football Federation South Australia (FFSA) today announced that the Qantas Australian Under 23’s will play their first 2012 London Olympic Games Asian Qualifier against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide on Wednesday 21 September (kick-off 7:00pm).

Football Federation Australia (FFA), the South Australian Government and Football Federation South Australia (FFSA) today announced that the Qantas Australian Under 23-s will play their first 2012 London Olympic Games Asian Qualifier against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide on Wednesday 21 September (kick-off 7:00pm).

Adelaide born, bred and based, Qantas Australian Under 23-s Head Coach Aurelio Vidmar was looking forward to getting his team-s campaign off to a good start on home soil.

“The results of our home matches will have a large bearing on whether we qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games, so it is extremely important for us to get a positive start in our first match against the UAE,” said Vidmar.

“Personally, I have plenty of great memories here at Hindmarsh Stadium, so it is a great advantage for us to play our opening match of the Third Round here in Adelaide.

“We-ll also have a good 10-day training camp in Adelaide in the lead-up to the match to make sure we are fully prepared to start our campaign,” concluded Vidmar.

The South Australian Recreation, Sport and Racing Minister, Tom Kenyon, was proud that Hindmarsh Stadium would host the Qantas Australian Under 23-s opening match of their 2012 London Olympic Games qualification campaign.

“This game will be the first step in ensuring that this team will be able to represent Australia in the Men-s Football competition at next year-s London Olympics.

“The last time we saw the Olyroos in Adelaide was back in May, 2007 in a qualifier for the Beijing Olympics when they downed Iran 3-1 in front of more than 6,300 spectators, so let-s hope we see a similar result next month.

“It will be a great opportunity for South Australian football fans and sports fans alike to support the Australian team and I-m sure the crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium will get right behind the Olyroos and create an electric atmosphere,” Mr Kenyon said.

FFSA CEO Michael Carter also welcomed international football to South Australia and the positive effects that such a match will have on the local football community.

“It-s fantastic to see international football being played here in South Australia so soon after the Qantas Socceroos were here.

“It-s also a great opportunity for our junior footballers and their families to see one of our national team-s close up as they embark on their Olympic Games qualification campaign.

“I-m sure that the South Australian Football Family will come out and support our boys for this important match against the UAE,” concluded Carter.

The Qantas Australian Under 23-s are drawn in Group B, with Iraq, Uzbekistan, and the UAE, for the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the London 2012 Olympic Games men-s football tournament.

The venues and kick-off times for the remaining matches of the Qantas Australian Under 23-s campaign are expected to be confirmed by the AFC in the near future.

Asia are allotted 3.5 slots for the London 2012 Olympic Gamers men-s football tournament.

The winner of each group from the third round will automatically progress to next year-s Olympic Games.

The three second-placed teams from the third round will clash in a playoff at a centralised venue from 25 to 29 March, 2012, and the winner of this group will then meet the representatives of CAF (Africa) for a berth at the Olympic Games.

Ticketing details for the match will be released shortly.