May 12 – Australia’s Graham Arnold has vowed that his team’s intensity will not drop following a historic World Cup campaign in a bid to win the 2024 Asian Cup.
In Group B, Arnold’s Socceroos were drawn with Uzbekistan, Syria and India, a quartet that should see the Australians comfortably progress to the knock-out stage.
“We got a little bit familiar with Uzbekistan and Syria because we played them both in World Cup qualifiers and obviously the last Asian Cup,” said Arnold (pictured). We have got the best 24 teams in Asia here and everyone plays a different way. It’s all about getting our own game plan right and getting all our preparation right.”
At the last World Cup finals, Australia reached the knockout phase only to fall to eventual winners Argentina 2-1 in the round of 16. They had progressed from a group that included then reigning champions France and European powerhouse Denmark. Arnold is convinced that his team can maintain their determination going into next year’s continental tournament.
“It’s the mindset,” said Arnold. “It’s all in the brain. The players, they’ve shown what they can do and they’ve got to continue doing that. Our expectations are high and my expectations of the playing group have always been high. But that energy they brought to the World Cup, that commitment, that fight and that will to win was very strong. I expect the same for the Asian Cup.”
To date, Australia have won the Asian Cup once when in 2015 they defeated South Korea in the final on home soil. They first participated in 2007 after joining the Asian Football Confederation a year earlier.
The longstanding Socceroos boss wants to win the competition. “Well, otherwise what’s the use of being here?” said Arnold. “My mindset is whatever you’re doing, you’re going there to win and it’s no different.”
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