Aussies confident but Arnold wants more after dismissal of Indonesia

January 28 – Socceroos boss Graham Arnold praised his forward line after their 4-0 win over Indonesia that put them into the quarter finals, but recognised his opponents for making the going tough.

“You’ve got to give credit to Indonesia, They made it tough for us. The quality we have up front came through today, as well as stuff we worked on in training,” said Arnold.

“Asian football has come on leaps and bounds. We said to the boys be ready for a fight, be ready for a physical battle. We played well but we could play better, we always want to be positive.”

“I give great credit to Indonesia . They are very well coached and played a good game.”

Arnold was clear that mentality was the key to Australia’s improving performances, and that sorting out mental issues was just as important as fixing technical problems on the pitch.

“We will go and watch Saudi v Korea and get a couple of days off. We are just focused on ourselves and getting our brains right as the main priority.

“One of the best takeaways from the match was that individual belief improved for us. The boys relaxed and showed how good they can be. I loved to see their confidence and skills and imagination. It was great to see them in action today,” continued Arnold.

Quick to praise his defenders, the coach mentioned the importance of clean sheets in knockout football.

“Keeping the clean sheet means we’ll win the game. As long as the clean sheet is there, it builds mentality and secures wins for us. It gives us belief to attack and composure in defence and helps us stick to our game plan and focus.”

Veteran attacker Craig Goodwin made a strong impact on the match, tallying a goal and an assist but having only been subbed on in the 87th minute.

Speaking on his decision to bench the 32-year-old, who has 22 caps for his nation, Arnold said: “We did the right thing by resting Craig. He picked up a knock to the knee before the tournament. Everyone has been asking back home to see a real impact off the bench. Well maybe Craig is that guy for us. We know how important he is and has played well as an impact sub off the bench.”

Off the back of a man of the match performance, goalscorer Martin Boyle said: “I’m delighted we got the result. We said last week that we needed to improve in attack and we certainly did that.

“We can take great confidence from the win, recover well and train hard for the next match. We’ll keep working hard and try to get bodies in the box, which we always aim to do.”

Getting on the scoresheet thanks to a flying header at the back post, the player picked up a minor injury to his shoulder in the process, which saw play stop for a number of minutes.

“Souttar and Rowles must be concussed every game!” The player joked. “The balls are rock solid, but i threw myself at it and was delighted to get the goal. I put my body on the line but the main thing is the ball ended up in the net.

“We knew the game plan today and it worked. It helps to have a crossing plan with a six foot eight centre half in the box!”

Having progressed to the quarter finals with a comfortable victory, Australia have reminded the competition’s big hitters that they can be a force to be reckoned with.

“We’ve matured quickly from the World Cup. We’re one big family and build from that. We have a good mix of experience and youth and its all falling into place. We have all the quality, we just need to believe we can go all the way,” finished Boyle.

Australia’s next step on the journey to the trophy will be played on Friday February 2 against the victor of Saudi Arabia v South Korea on Tuesday night.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1721231447labto1721231447ofdlr1721231447owedi1721231447sni@g1721231447niwe.1721231447yrrah1721231447


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