It's still far too early to start throwing around words like "golden generation", but if nothing else, there's hope. The Olyroos announced themselves by beating two time gold medalists Argentina on Thursday night, and did they do it in style.
A well-crafted first goal was only bettered by the grit the Aussies showed under intense physical pressure from the Argentinians. If that wasn't impressive enough, the second goal certainly was.
The signs were nothing but positive last night, with so many who featured for Australia catching the eye. While there's certainly an element of "one spring does not make a summer" and "it's only one game", it's still ok to enjoy this moment.
To be brutally honest, for much of the first half, the Argentinians looked to have no interest in playing actual football. Already time-wasting at the nine minute mark of the game, it signaled their total lack of intent.
On the other hand, the Australians were looking to lay down a marker. Their ambition was telling, with Daniel Arzani and Riley McGree in particular always looking to create.
The character of this squad was just as telling, on full show throughout a physical game where the Olyroos gave as good as they got.
While it's too early to say what this group will become, it's fair to say that there's positive signs, here's why.
After bursting onto the scene at Melbourne City and the 2018 Russia World Cup, Arzani has found it tough going the past few seasons, particularly due to injury.
Last night though he was far and away the most dangerous player on the park all game (besides McGree). Arzani showed he's lost none of his spark, explosiveness and skill.
In a game against a powerhouse such as Argentina, Arzani looked a cut above. That's quite the accomplishment against a country that's produced some of history's greatest players.
This isn't to say Arzani was man of the match, just that he seemed to create panic for the Argentinians whenever he had the ball at his feet.
Already known after scoring perhaps the most outrageous goal the A League's seen, McGree put in a performance last night that was tantalising.
Almost scoring another screamer when he connected with a bicycle kick, only to force a fine save, McGree oozes X Factor. He reads the game well, has incredible vision, but most importantly, the audacity to try things.
He looms as the potential successor to Aaron Mooy and his next move will be crucial to the future of the Socceroos.
The man of the match last night, Deng showcased the very best of himself in arguably the biggest game of his career to date.
Composed, stoic, uncompromising, reliable, there are so many superlatives you could use for the way he played. Deng has gone from strength to strength so far in his short career.
Australia has been crying out for two composed and imposing Centre Halves since the days of Craig Moore and Lucas Neill, in Deng and fellow youngster Harry Souttar, there's hope that the search is over.
A commanding and physical presence, Souttar is a colossus who's already proved he belongs at senior international level.
Dangerous at set pieces for the Socceroos, he's scored freely in the world cup qualifiers the past 12 months, with six goals in his first five appearances for Australia.
Last night though he showed he can do more than just dominate the air. His long ball from the back for Joel King to run onto unchecked was a nice touch of class. The vision and composure to execute though, are what impressed most.
He'll no doubt have issues against fast attackers at Socceroo level, but there's absolutely no doubt that Graham Arnold has found one here.
A defensive midfielder in the mould of Vinnie Grella, Metcalfe produced perhaps the best performance of his career on a big stage.
The mark of any good defensive mid is that it can be hard to notice their impact. They often operate in the space the opposition is looking to exploit. Metcalfe did this with aplomb, breaking up attacks and ensuring possession for Australia.
Just brilliant. What a performance.
Deng, Souttar, Atkinson, McGree, Metcalfe stood out but you couldn’t fault anyone. Had the better of them with eleven as well.
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) July 22, 2021
Still just 21, if he can continue to improve there's no telling how integral he could become to the Socceroos.
Workrate. That's the word that sums Atkinson up. He ran hard all night, a perfect example coming late as he outpaced his opponent, only to be shoved to the turf and win a foul.
His work on the right, creating the overlap for Australia to attack is exactly what's required of a modern day fullback, which shows he's got the tank and IQ for the top level.
Gritty, energetic and uncompromising, Atkinson certainly looks a handy option in defence for the future.
A month ago, no one knew who Lachie Wales was, today, the sky's the limit. It's amazing how much a moment can change everything.
Wales is no finished article, at times showing his inexperience, but he was lively, a handful and most of all, willing.
An inspired selection by Graham Arnold, a night like that can kickstart a career, perhaps this is just the beginning for Wales.
The diminutive attacker who has made a name for himself at Melbourne City has arrived on the greater consciousness of Australia. His spectacular goal with just his second touch was pure class.
There are always those who say things along the lines of "he's too small" and in Tilio's case, it's no exception. However, that's clearly not going to stop him, much like another diminutive attacker who once featured for the opposition at the Olympics.
IT. IS. TWO!
— 7Olympics (@7olympics) July 22, 2021
Given a go at Melbourne City due to injuries this season, Tilio swam when others would sink. Last night, he did it again. He looks a player who goes up a gear when challenged, he may be exactly what the Socceroos need.
Tilio's shown he's got the potential, if carefully advised, he could blossom in time for the next World Cup campaign.
Related: Olyroos stun Argentina: Match report
In this handful of young men, the Socceroos can be confident that there are green shoots coming through. Perhaps crucially, there are coming through at home.
Here are some stats to consider: young players minutes in the A League are double what they were two seasons ago.
On top of this, 10 out of the 15 players to feature in last nights game are A League players. More than that, they were prominent in the competition this season.
Finally, 87% of Olyroos have gone on to play for the Socceroos. Let that sink in.
Football in Australia is on the right track and with a coach who believes in the A League's talent, there's no telling where the ceiling may be.
The next step? These players need to either move to clubs and countries where they will see significant game time. Or stay put and see significant game time. The Aaron Mooy vs Robbie Kruse comparison is the gold standard here.
Young players simply cannot afford to go overseas and sit on the bench during their peak development years. Hopefully, this lesson has finally sunk in.
While it may only be one game, there was enough to suggest that these youngsters can offer the national team something in the years to come.
Next up is Spain, featuring some of world's most impressive young talent, a stern test that will really test the depth and quality of this squad. They will no doubt be better than Argentina, but the best always want to play the best.
While it's important to temper expectations, this single game offered something to so many Australians doing it tough in lockdown, a new hope.