Cut out of the Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers youth systems, Volpato moved to Italy two years ago and has AS Roma legend Francesco Totti, who scored the penalty that knocked the Socceroos out of the 2006 World Cup, as his agent.
While he is still a talent and Tuesday’s appearance was only his sixth at first-team level, few other Australian players score or assist goals at such a high level of competition – and there is no doubt that selection for the World Cup would convince him to pick the Socceroos against Italy, who have failed to qualify for the last two tournaments.
Arnold flies to Doha on Friday to begin preparations for the World Cup on the spot and has plenty to think about as he prepares to field his squad next Tuesday, November 8 – not least when it comes to up-and-coming talent like Volpato and his fellow Italian and Australian Alessandro Chirkati, as well as the likes of Hrustic, Martin Boyle, Harry Soutar, Kai Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson, who are either recently injured or battling against time to recover from long-term issues.
Boyle provided the latest injury threat for Arnold, picking up the injury after scoring for Hibernian in their 3-0 win against St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership last weekend. There are fears Boyle could have seriously damaged his knee, which is reported to have gone numb afterwards, with the Socceroos awaiting MRI results to determine the full extent of the damage.
“I’m praying it’s not that bad … I’m lighting a candle for him tonight, hoping he’s OK,” Hibernian manager Lee Johnson said.
Boyle, 29, is the Socceroos’ main starting winger and missed the team’s last major tournament, the 2019 Asian Cup, with a knee injury sustained in a friendly warm-up.
But at least Australia are not alone – France, their opening Group D opponents on November 23 (AEDT), are reeling from the loss of Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, who has been ruled out of the World Cup after picking up a thigh injury in training.
Pogba has been trying to recover from an early knee injury and his agent Raffaello Pimento has admitted to French media that his latest setback will see him miss the tournament, having played a key role in France’s victory at Russia 2018.