FIFA World Cup 2022, Socceroos News, Cristian Volpato, Roma FC, Scores, Results, Garang Kuol, A-League
There is just one week left before Socceroos manager Graham Arnold decides on his 26-man squad for the Qatar World Cup.
But one of Australian rules football’s hottest prospects, teenager Cristian Volpato, entered the fray as a bolter after scoring and assisting Italian giants Roma in the biggest moment of his blossoming career to date.
The performance reignites a long-running debate over whether Arnold should cap Volpato and thereby secure his allegiance to Australia rather than Italy, which he is also eligible to represent internationally.
Volpato, who had already been shunned by Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers before his meteoric rise at Roma, represented Italy’s youth international teams but did not play at senior international level – meaning the first nation debuting him will effectively lock him up. for the future.
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Jose Mourinho’s Roma were level with Verona at 1-1 before the final two minutes at the Stadio Bentegodi. Then the 18-year-old Volpato met fellow substitute Nemanja Matic’s low cross with a perfect first time to put the away team ahead.
Australian-born Volpato then ensured Roma took three points when he slipped past Stephan El Shaarawy to score a third in stoppage time with a perfect pass.
It propelled his side past Lazio to fourth in Serie A, a week before the Rome derby.
“The manager called me, I hadn’t even warmed up or anything. I’m really happy that I came, scored and changed the game,” Volpato said after his first appearance of the campaign. Asked what Mourinho told him, he replied: “He said I must have been very lucky!”
“I know I’m the youngest and I have to be patient and respect everyone,” Volpato added of the likelihood of starting for the team. He has made four Serie A appearances – including three last season – scoring twice.
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Legendary manager Mourinho says he’s not afraid to launch the youngster into action from the bench.
“I believed in the talent of a young boy (Volpato), his creativity and his sense of goal,” Mourinho said after the match.
“After getting a taste of the first team, he signed a contract extension, and now he is a player with first-team quality.
“He is young, he still has a lot to learn every day, but he already has the required level.
“When I put it in, it wasn’t me who was crazy or taking an absurd risk.
“I didn’t know for sure he was going to score the winning goal, but I knew he had the ability.”
In February, Volpato scored his first Serie A goal – also against Verona. But Socceroos manager Graham Arnold has said he won’t give the youngster a cap (and stop him playing for Italy) until he’s earned it.
“I’m not just capping people and binding them for life – that’s Cristian’s decision and his family’s decision,” Arnold told News Corp.
“We watch him, we watch him, we talk to him, I talked to his dad Oscar… they’re a nice family and good people.
“The most important thing is that Cristian makes the right decision about what is right for him,
“I would love for Cristian to play for Australia, but the conversation revolves around what he wants to do and what his family wants.”
“Right now, Cristian is undoubtedly enjoying this incredible experience working with Jose Mourinho and his agent (Italian and Roma legend) Francesco Totti, and the conversations they have with him are no doubt about his career and his life. .”
Volpato’s reputation with Australian fans took a hit in March after the Socceroos were beaten at home by Japan in World Cup qualifying – a result that forced the Aussies into the play-offs to secure a place in Qatar. The teenager sent friends a Snapchat that showed the result of the match alongside a laughing emoji, an image that quickly went viral on social media and sparked a lot of angst among Socceroos faithful.
But if he can back up his brilliant effort against Verona with solid performances against Ludogorets in the Europa League and then a massive derby with Lazio, Graham Arnold will be strongly tempted to call him up for the World Cup – and with Italy absent from the Qatar, Australian fans may well have the last laugh.
Mentor and former manager Tony Basha, however, thinks Volpato is unlikely to represent the Socceroos, telling Kick 360: “I think his heart is set on representing Italy.
“He is playing in the youth team and doing very well and there are very, very strong rumors that the Italian national team are going to call him up to the first team.
“He’s not mad at Australia, he’s a proud Aussie kid, but the people who work around him want him to continue playing football for Roma. At this point I don’t think that there is a chance he plays for the Socceroos.
In another interview with FTBL, Basha said: “I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news but I think he’s staying with Italy at the moment.”
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In September, Arnold made his Socceroos debut to fellow 18-year-old striker Garang Kuol, although the youngster had never started a senior professional game.
Kuol came off the bench nine times for the Central Coast Mariners Men’s A-League final season, scoring four times and assisting another. But he impressed for the national team, earned a future Premier League move with Newcastle United and started the new domestic campaign in stellar form.
This weekend he came off the bench against defending champions Western United and had another massive impact. A damaging run through midfield ended in brutal fashion when he was brought down by Nikolai Topor-Stanley, the tackle earning him a red card from VAR.
Then he left United’s Ben Garuccio looking silly when he muscled up the back and sent in a cross that deflected past Jason Cummings to score.
Coach Nick Montgomery told Paramount+ after the game: “Everyone says, ‘Start it’, but look: I don’t think he’s ready to start the games.
“Because the impact he has when he faces Barcelona, for the Socceroos, in the A-League is magnificent.
“I don’t want to put that pressure on him, (but) if I was Graham Arnold I would be looking to take him on as an impact player. I told him that this week I told him he has to work harder and if he wants to start he has to work harder and show me that he is ready to start.
Montgomery continued: “I thought today was the right decision to bring him on at half-time. He was a game-changer. His potential is huge and everyone can see that.
Kuol and Cummings made their Socceroos debut together, with Cummings scoring a penalty won by Kuol – and their flourishing combination at club level will likely convince Arnold to select the two for the Socceroos World Cup squad, which will be announced on November 8 .
Cummings added a hat-trick of assists to his goal for the Mariners at the weekend, leading the team to a 4-2 victory after falling two goals. He might even have scored a hat-trick if two of his other strikes hadn’t been canceled.
Cummings scored 10 goals in 21 appearances last season, with two out of three this time around.
Both men have one last chance to book their place on the plane to Qatar when they face Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.
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Elsewhere in the A-League, 21-year-old winger Marco Tilio – already capped five times this year under Arnold – turned in his best performance of the season for Melbourne City.
Tilio won a penalty and scored in the first half for City against Wellington Phoenix, before the Victorian club spit their comfortable lead in a 2-2 draw.
Jamie Maclaren scored the penalty for City, his fifth in four games this season to comfortably lead the golden boot race – and establish himself as a virtual lock for the Socceroos from Qatar.
Craig Goodwin (Adelaide United) is another Socceroo on the rise in the A-League of late, having struggled with injury in pre-season.
After two roles off the bench in the early rounds, he played the full 90 minutes in back-to-back games and opened his goalscoring account against Perth last time out.
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Paramount+ analyst Daniel McBreen said: “He can’t not be (on the plane). In my opinion, he is without a doubt the best Australian player currently playing in the Men’s A-League.
“He’s constantly creating chances, he’s scoring goals, his delivery is second to none, especially from set pieces as well, I can’t see unless, and barring injury, he’s touching wood, no reason why he wouldn’t be (on the plane).”
“He also has goals in him,” added Scott McDonald. “He is still a threat going forward.
“What he sometimes lacks in rhythm, you might say, he has in cunning. When he enters these areas more often than not… he chooses the right person.
“He’s been involved in everything that’s good at Adelaide United today, and that’s no surprise – he still is. If he keeps that form ahead of the World Cup, he has to be in the game. airplane for me.
Winger Brandon Borrello (Western Sydney Wanderers) hasn’t played for the Socceroos since winning his fourth cap in June 2021. But he scored and hit the woodwork in a 2-0 win over the Jets of Newcastle, and would have had an assist if Kusini Yengi didn’t miss a chance.
– with AFP