Coach Arnold brainwashes his Socceroos
November 21, 2022 / 9:35 pm
Coach Graham Arnold is brainwashing his Socceroos.
Arnold has banned the ‘F’ word – France – ahead of Australia’s World Cup opener against the reigning champions on Tuesday night (Wednesday 0600 AEDT).
Instead, Arnold is calling them ‘blue’ – the colour of their shirts.
“If we focus too much on the opposition, all we can do is put it in the brains of the (Australian) players how good the opposition is,” he told reporters.
“We know their strengths. It’s about those 10 blue shirts against 10 yellow. It’s an individual battle.
“And we have got the Aussie DNA. We will go out there and have a fight, kick, scratch – do whatever is required.”
Arnold wants the Socceroos to get in the faces of Les Bleus, a group with a collective transfer market value of $2.3 billion compared to his squad being worth $A38 million.
And he’s planted three key words in the minds of his players – belief; energy; focus.
“Belief to go out there and do the job,” Arnold said.
“Energy, bring that energy for the nation.
“And focus on our performance and our job.
“We know the opposition will be tough. It’s more about ourselves and making sure we focus on our roles, our jobs, and we get our job done.”
Getting the job done at Doha’s Al Janoub Stadium would mean causing one of the biggest upsets in Australia’s sporting history.
The Socceroos have won only two games at World Cup finals: in 2006 against Japan and 2010 against Serbia.
Only once have Australia advanced from a World Cup group, in 2006.
Arnold wants to repeat the feat – and more.
“What I am looking at is the last 16,” he said.
“I have got to give them (his players) the goal and and expect them to achieve that goal.
“I want to go all the way. But success, you start off with obviously the group stage.”
The French are two-time champs and boast a squad overflowing with global megastars despite injury-enforced losses of Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku.
Arnold was forced to rule winger Martin Boyle, among the Socceroos’ best players in a gruelling 20-game qualification campaign, out of the cup because of a knee injury.
And attacking linchpin Ajdin Hrustic, who hasn’t played for seven weeks because of an ankle injury, won’t start against France.
Also, Arnold’s preferred central defenders, Harry Souttar and Kye Rowles, have played minimal recent minutes after respective injuries.
“I am still tossing and turning,” Arnold said of his starting 11.
But the first Australian-born coach of the Socceroos at a World Cup believed his squad had one advantage over the French, who are notorious for infighting and ego clashes.
“You can say our players aren’t playing in the top leagues in the world and all their players are,” Arnold said.
“But it’s a team sport.
“It’s about connecting the 26 players together in a family environment way and making sure that they’re mates and they have got each other’s backs.
“And that is when you see the special results.”
AAP (C) 2022
France may be the world champions – but to Australia’s players, they are just ‘blue’. (AP PHOTO)