Graham Arnold warns Australia ‘must be ready for war’ in crucial World Cup clash against Tunisia
Graham Arnold warns that Australia “must be ready for war” in the crucial World Cup clash against Tunisia and admits that the Socceroos’ 12-year wait for a tournament win is giving him nightmares: “I haven’t slept on a long time”
Graham Arnold is preparing the Socceroos for a football war ahead of Saturday’s clash against Tunisia.
After beating France 4-1, Australia’s hopes of reaching the round of 16 for the first time in 16 years depend on the game against the North Africans.
Graham Arnold has warned the Socceroos to be prepared for war against Tunisia
A draw or win would leave Australia needing a result from their final group game against Denmark next week, but a loss against Tunisia would spell the end of their World Cup campaign.
And while reigning champions France presented a challenge of style and finesse, Arnold hopes the Tunisians will test Australia’s mentality.
The North Africans, ranked world number 30, were impressive on Tuesday when they held Denmark to a draw in the opening Group D match and will be backed by a vocal crowd on Saturday, with an estimated 40,000 Tunisians estimated to be living in Doha. .
“We have to be ready for that war,” Arnold told reporters.
Arnold said he expects Tunisia to test the Socceroos’ mental toughness on Saturday.
“They’re aggressive and they’re going to have 40,000 fans behind them and it’s going to be a really amazing experience for everyone.”
The Socceroos coach’s message to his players is forceful.
“Fight fire with fire, especially early on,” he said.
And then when we get up, put out the fire.
Australia took a surprising lead against France in their opening game, but ultimately lost 4-1.
Craig Goodwin’s marvelous finish put the Socceroos ahead with less than 10 minutes played
But France turned the game around in four minutes thanks to goals from Adrien Rabiot and Olivier Giroud (above), before scoring two more in the second half.
The Socceroos’ World Cup got off to a great start as Craig Goodwin’s wonderful finishing gave them an amazing early lead against France.
Australia shook the defending champions in the opening 20 minutes, but Les Bleus’ class finally shined through. Adrien Rabiot equalized midway through the first half and Olivier Giroud put France ahead four minutes later.
With Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann running rampant, the defending champions tore Australia to shreds with the PSG star adding a second after the break. before Giroud completed his double.
Ever the optimist, Arnold said he considered the thrashing against France ‘the best friendly we could have’ with the Socceroos’ focus now firmly on Tunisia and Denmark.
Tunisia were impressive in their 0-0 draw against Denmark in their opening match
“It’s a two game tournament now,” he said.
‘We have to win the next two [matches] and there is no better opponent to play against in a supposed friendly than France, who will punish you for every little mistake like they did.
‘It’s a great learning experience for many of these young people. We had 11 rookies and that’s what it’s about, not only for this season, but also for the next one.’
Australia have not won a World Cup match in 12 years, since Tim Cahill and Brett Holman scored in a 2-1 win against Serbia in the final Group D match at the 2010 World Cup.
Tim Cahill (left) celebrates with Lucas Neill after scoring the opening goal in Australia’s 2-1 win over Serbia in the final round of Group D games at the 2010 World Cup.
Some 4,358 days have passed since then and Arnold admitted that he has been dreaming of finishing that race.
‘I haven’t slept in a long time, wanting that [a World Cup victory] so much,” he explained.
‘And it’s not for me, it’s for the nation. Only two wins in 17 games. You know, it’s nothing more than I want to put a smile on Australian faces, it’s not about me at all, if it was about me I probably would have been gone a long time ago. You know, it’s about helping the kids.