Socceroos back team strength to overcome star-filled France team


It’s all designed to convey them nearer collectively, and capitalise on Australia’s biggest energy, and maybe France’s biggest weak spot: staff unity.

The late withdrawal of Martin Boyle by way of harm was a curveball they may have completed with out, however Arnold says their lead-in to the Group D opener has been in any other case note-perfect.

“Our pre-planning that we did for the three months main into this, to ensure all the things was going to be proper, has labored extraordinarily nicely. The gamers are in nice spirits,” he mentioned.

“It’s a very totally different surroundings from the place [European teams are] coming from … the place the circumstances are chilly. After they’re coming into the warmth, it’s about getting the coaching occasions proper, and getting the times proper – as a result of generally, if you happen to simply sit round all day and anticipate coaching at evening, you’re sitting on the lounge, watching TV, and it takes the vitality away.

“We’re doing actions in the course of the mornings, making the gamers snort and have enjoyable and luxuriate in one another’s firm, and social rooms, and ensuring that after they go on the pitch, they’ve obtained that vitality.”

As just lately identified to this masthead by former Socceroo Brett Holman – who scored the winner for Australia of their final World Cup victory, 12 lengthy years in the past – at this stage, it’s not about educating gamers tips on how to play soccer. They already know. Right here, coaches should metal them to consider, and that’s Arnold’s forte.

Let’s do this for one fast second, earlier than actuality has the possibility to smack us within the face. Simply think about: a win over France would probably be the best single second within the 100-year historical past of the Socceroos and a seismic achivement for the sport in Australia. It will make all of them immediate sporting legends. (OK, that’s sufficient.)

“Perception” is one the three “main phrases” Arnold mentioned he could be drilling into his gamers earlier than kick-off. The others are “vitality” – which they’ve conserved by the way of their preparation – and “focus”, which now switches to what they should do on the pitch to drag it off.

Arnold did little to dispel rising rumours across the Aspire campus that he might change to a again three – the identical defensive association that turned so controversial throughout Ange Postecoglou’s tenure as Socceroos coach. “Did your binoculars see these rumours?” Arnold laughed. “You’ll see that on Tuesday.” It is smart, given the opponents and their very own taking part in shares, however would increase quite a lot of eyebrows in Australian soccer circles.

Regardless of the formation, they might want to discover a delicate steadiness between front-foot aggression – matching the usual on the entrance Arnold says they set for themselves in June – and never crossing the road, be it by way of undisciplined actions or positional play.

“Once we can press and get of their faces, we are going to,” Arnold mentioned.

“However we’ve obtained to try this collectively. We’ve watched many clips the place different nations press and the entrance 4 or 5 go, however the remaining keep, after which they play by way of. We’ve obtained to play the sport sensible.


Australia (3-5-2): Ryan; Deng, Souttar, Rowles; Atkinson, Mooy, Devlin, Irvine, Behich; McGree, Duke.

France (4-3-3): Lloris; Pavard, Saliba, Upamecano, L. Hernandez; Tchouameni, Rabiot, Griezmann; Dembele, Giroud, Mbappe.

“We all know their strengths. It’s about these 10 blue shirts in opposition to 10 yellow, and it’s a person battle. We’ve obtained the Aussie DNA – we’ll go on the market and battle, kick, scratch, do no matter is required. Certainly one of their strengths is technically, and we’ve obtained to be of their faces, and guarantee that we take that energy away from them.”

France was Australia’s first-up opponent on the final World Cup, 4 years in the past. Les Bleus solely squeaked over the road 2-1 by way of a late personal purpose from Aziz Behich. This week, the French have mirrored on that match as considered one of their most tough in Russia, and are anticipating one thing related once more, whereas additionally revealing how little they know concerning the Socceroos individually.


4 years in the past, Bert van Marwijk was the short-term appointment as coach following Postecoglou’s resignation. It was apparent then the Dutchman had no actual religion in Australia’s taking part in shares – and even moreso in hindsight, as Arnold’s methodology stands in full distinction.

“I’ve had conferences with the gamers that performed in these video games. How did they really feel about taking part in these video games, and the way did they really feel after the sport?” Arnold mentioned.

“Plenty of them mentioned it was solely after the sport that they felt that they have been simply pretty much as good [as France] or might have been higher. That’s the mentality we’ve obtained to go in with. Don’t inform me after. Let’s go in with that perception earlier than, and ensuring that from the primary minute that we’re able to go.”

The Socceroos have 17 first-timers at a World Cup, and solely two gamers who characteristic in considered one of Europe’s prime 5 leagues. Each single member of France’s 26-man squad do – even accounting for the massive names on their rising harm checklist, which has now claimed Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, who joins Paul Pogba, N’golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe, Christopher Nkunku and Mike Maignan on the sidelines.

Such is their depth, they may subject 4 groups that, on paper, you’d again over Australia’s greatest.

Arnold doesn’t care.

“You may say that our gamers aren’t taking part in the highest leagues on this planet, and all their gamers are. Nevertheless it’s a staff sport,” he mentioned.

“It’s about connecting the 11 gamers, or the 26 gamers collectively in a household surroundings means, and ensuring that they’re mates, they usually’ve obtained one another’s backs – that’s when you will get particular outcomes.”

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