Cowburn confident Australia can silence Syria

The Australian U23 Men’s National Team are just hours away from their first match at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China.

Ante Milicic’s charges will challenge Syria at the Kunshan Stadium in Jiangsu Province at 7pm (AEDT) tonight – a match that can be viewed LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on foxsports.com.au.

The second half will also be shown LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS 501 following ‘Just For Kicks’.

Newcastle Jets utility Nick Cowburn says the squad understands how important getting off to a good start in the tournament will be this evening.

“We know that every single game in this group is going to be hard,” Cowburn, who scored his first international goal in a friendly win over Thailand in Shanghai on Saturday, said.

“We’ve been focusing closely on Syria over the last few days, and obviously getting off to a good start is important.

“If we can get three points in our opening match this evening it will set us up to advance from Group D, which is our first aim in the competition.

“It’s good to know that FOX SPORTS will be showing all our matches. But the fact that we will be shown live back into Australia also adds incentive for us to perform, because we know that our Clubs, coaches, as well as fans will be watching,” he said.

Nick Cowburn


Cowburn added that he was delighted to score his first international goal last Saturday, and believes that the camaraderie in the camp will help the team throughout the tournament.

“It was good to score against Thailand,” he explained. “It was kind of a weird opportunity where the ball just popped out to me off a corner.”

“It was great to get out there against Thailand to learn how everyone plays, because this is the team that we want to win the (2018 AFC) Asian Cup with.”

“We have all come closer over the past week and we know that from tonight things get serious.

“We have a really strong squad here and we all believe that we can do well under Ante (Milicic) and the coaching staff. Against Thailand we had a good game plan and everyone understood it, so now it’s up to us to impress against Syria.”

Australia’s results at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship will impact the team’s seeding for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship, which will double as the qualification tournament for the 2020 Summer Olympics to be held in Tokyo, Japan.

Australia U23 v Syria U23
Thursday 11 January 2018
Kunshan Stadium, Kunshan
Kick-off: 4pm (local); 7pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Second half LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS 501 following ‘Just For Kicks’ (full match also streamed live via foxsports.com.au)

Vietnam U23 v Australia U23
Sunday 14 January 2018
Kunshan Stadium, Kunshan
Kick-off: 4pm (local); 7pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Full match LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS 506

Korea Republic U23 v Australia U23
Wednesday 17 January 2018
Kunshan Stadium, Kunshan
Kick-off: 7.30pm (local); 10.30pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Full match LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX SPORTS 501

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This article was originally published on the Caltex Socceroos website.
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