Sport

Gianluca Iannucci in Young Socceroos squad

By Cobram Courier

Australia's best young footballers have flown out to Chinese Taipei for crucial qualification matches - and on board the plane was Cobram star Gianluca Iannucci.

The Melbourne City attacker has been picked in the Young Socceroos squad that will contest three qualifiers for next year's Asian Football Confederation Under-19 Championships.

But the pressure is on; next year's championships double as qualifiers for the 2021 FIFA Under-20 World Cup, meaning every match from this point on is going to be huge.

The side is in Group H and will take on Laos, Macau and Chinese Taipei, with the first game kicking off today at 4 pm.

National representation is nothing new for Iannucci, having travelled with the side for the recent ASEAN Football Federation Under-18 Championships in Vietnam, a tournament Australia took out with a 2-1 win against Malaysia in the final.

Iannucci was an unused substitute in the final, although he did score a brilliant goal in Australia's final group game against Singapore.

Australia would qualify for the 16-team, Uzbekistan-hosted AFC Under-19 Championship by either winning Group H, or finishing as one of the four best second-ranked teams in the 11-group qualification process.

Iannucci's Melbourne City NPL side was relegated from NPL2 to NPL3 after finishing seventh on the NPL2 East table, with the Cobram wizard finishing the season with 22 appearances and five goals.

He is one of six scholarship players at Melbourne City, a process that has already produced three senior players for the Citizens, and is in the side's A-League squad.