Hall and Popović named in Olyroos Squad

Adelaide United players Steven Hall and Alexandar Popović have been called up for national duty, selected as part of Australia’s Under 23 team for two friendly matches in Suadi Arabia.

The goalkeeper and centre back have been included in Head coach Tony Vidmar’s Subway Olyroos squad for games to be played against Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s under 23 sides on November 17 and 21 respectively.

Three other Reds – goalkeeper Ethan Cox, and midfielders Bernardo Oliveira and Jonny Yull have been named as standby players and could be called into the squad in the case of any withdrawals.

16 A-League Men’s players were included in the 24-man squad including Lachlan Brook (Western Sydney Wanderers FC), Noah Botic (Western United FC) and Ryan Teague (Melbourne Victory FC). 

Former Adelaide United players Louis D’Arrigo (Lechia Gdansk, Poland) and Mohamed Toure (Paris FC, France) are also among those named.

Subway Olyroos’ Head Coach, Tony Vidmar said this is the beginning of an important period within the U-23 program.

“There’s been some really positive results in recent camps at the Maurice Rovello Tournament and in securing qualification for the U-23 Asian Cup,” Vidmar said.

“Those are important for the confidence and belief within this group, as we build towards a phase of competition that is significant within our program.

“We’ve spoken about what success at an Asian Cup and in turn, Olympic qualification looks like for the players individually and as a collective – there’s real excitement as 2024 approaches.”

Vidmar added that these upcoming friendlies offered a variety of benefits to his wider squad.

“We’ve secured games against teams who will provide a different challenge to those we’ve recently faced, in very similar conditions to what we’ll see in Doha next year – in terms of acclimatising the squad it ticks several boxes,” Vidmar said.

“There are four available matches to prepare ahead of our first Asian Cup group game, so every part of our preparation needs to be geared towards that, ensuring we can be at our best and effectively execute our plans on the pitch.”

Vidmar’s squad features several returning faces from the team that successfully secured AFC U-23 Asian Cup™ Qatar 2024 qualification, including Calem Nieuwenhof (Heart of Midlothian FC), Nectarios Triantis (Sunderland AFC) and Patrick Yazbek (Viking FK).

The Subway Olyroos are one of 16 teams who have qualified for the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024, and should they finish in the top three they will automatically qualify for the Paris 2024 Olympics as the AFC representatives, while the fourth-best team will play an AFC-CAF play-off match for the final qualification spot. 

This month’s friendlies will take place during the November FIFA international window.

It means Hall and Popović will be available for Adelaide United’s Remembrance Round match against Sydney FC on Saturday before departing for Saudi Arabia the following day.

They are due to return to Australia ahead of the Round 5 clash with Western United.

Australia U23 Squad for Friendlies against Qatar U23 (November 17) and Saudi Arabia U23 (November 21)