Australia’s Arnold says being part of Asia’s growth has boosted performance levels

January 18 – Australia made the right call to leave Oceania and join the Asian Football confederation (AFC) in 2006 because of the superior level of opposition, says Socceroos coach Graham Arnold.

The Aussies had been with the Oceania Football Confederation for nearly four decades before making the switch.

“I didn’t make the decision to come into Asia from Oceania but I really think it’s improved us as a nation in football because the competition, the teams we’re playing against is much harder,” Arnold told reporters ahead of today’s Asian Cup clash with Syria.

Australia won the competition as hosts in 2015 and were runners-up in the 2011 edition – which like this time also held in Qatar.

“Australians are football fanatics and they’re seeing that Asian football is growing enormously and quickly. You can see in this tournament, the quality of the teams there is getting better and better,” Arnold continued.

“So the Australian community is right behind the Socceroos and Australian football being in Asia.”

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