Arnold wants more from Aussies. Indonesia’s Yong down plays expectations

January 27 – After finishing top of Group B with an unbeaten start to the competition, Australia are in solid form entering the knockout phase, but coach Graham Arnold believes they can do better.

“It’s obviously a great step to get through to the next round but I always have high expectations for the team. Overall we have done well but there’s still some ways to get better,” said Arnold (pictured).

“Indonesia are showing what the competition is all about. Every time we prepare, we prepare for a tough game and we expect that tomorrow. We have to be at our best, you can’t afford a slip up in mentality. You have to be prepared to play the game of your life.

“Every player, individually, can do better. It’s in the Aussie DNA – we fight until we drop.”

Surrounded by young players in the Australia setup, 32-year-old veteran Craig Goodwin explained the mood around the Socceroos ahead of the knockout clash.

“We’re very ready for Indonesia. I think we set out our ambition at the start of the tournament – we are very prepared for the next match and we can’t take any match in this tournament lightly.”

Goodwin was rested for the 1-1 draw versus Uzbekistan earlier in the week after picking up a knock.

“I’m training fully today. We took the decision to rest it ahead of the match this weekend but I’m in full training. Whether I’m on the bench or starting I’m ready to make an impact.

“We can’t get too ahead of ourselves. Our ambition from the start was to win the tournament. Across the tournament so far some of the big teams have struggled against teams you’d expect them to beat, so we have to go into Indonesia expecting a tough match,” said Goodwin.

Indonesia manager, Shin Tae Yong, said that mentality will be the key to unlocking Australia’s defence.

“Tomorrows match is never going to be easy. Australia is one of the strongest teams in the cup. Their biggest strength is their physicality and power. We’re going to show good energy, we have lots of young players. Even though our opponents are strong, we will play with a strong mentality. We never give up, we will not leave with any regret and play our best for tomorrow,” said Yong.

Yong was South Korea’s head coach during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which saw one of the defining moments of Korean football history as Yong’s side knocked out cup holders Germany.

“I don’t think we have a huge possibility to beat Australia to be honest, but Korea have the advantage over Saudi Arabia. I do hope we can play against Korea in the quarter final stage,” said Yong.

“The Korean team didn’t have the result they wanted over the course of the tournament so far. The players are very affected by the comments and the internet so I urge fans to support the Korean coach Klinsmann and the players so they can do well in this tournament.”

Indonesia’s Pratama Arhan, who has played every minute of his side’s Asian Cup journey, said: “This is a great story for Indonesian football. I am really happy to qualify and we are ready for these games. If I get the chance to play, I will do my best.

“We are mentally preparing really well. All the players play to our coach’s instruction and will be 100% for tomorrow. We are looking forward to it.”

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1721491070labto1721491070ofdlr1721491070owedi1721491070sni@g1721491070niwe.1721491070yrrah1721491070

 


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