Australia manager Graham Arnold has used a trademark one-liner to hilariously hit back at a French star who claimed he hadn’t heard of a single Socceroos player.
The Socceroos have virtually no chance of upsetting defending champions France in their cup opener on Wednesday morning (6:00 a.m. AEDT) and field a side many believe to be the weakest Australian side sent to a World Cup.
Australia manager Graham Arnold (pictured) has hilariously hit back at a French star who claimed he hadn’t heard of a single Socceroos player
On Sunday, France defender Ibrahima Konate (pictured) and midfielder Eduardo Camavinga admitted they could not identify anyone in the Australia squad – despite the two having met Socceroos players at club level
On Sunday, France defender Ibrahima Konate and midfielder Eduardo Camavinga admitted they could not identify anyone in the squad they were about to play – even though they had both come up against members at the club level.
Graham Arnold was asked about Konate’s comments at a press conference on Monday, and his response was cutting.
‘Hasn’t he got Paramount+?’ Arnold asked, referring to the streaming service that shows A-League football.
The curt response drew plenty of laughs, but Arnold was quick to point out that while his team isn’t a big name, they have big hearts.
Arnold believes the Socceroos’ (pictured) greatest asset is their mentality
“I know their mentality, that’s the most important thing,” Arnold said of his players.
“They don’t back down from anyone, they just know how to look forward and move forward no matter who is in front of them.
“And it’s not disrespectful at all, but I barely mentioned the word ‘France’ and I barely mentioned the names of the (French) players.
“The players know who they are…it’s 10 blue shirts against 10 yellow shirts and it’s a fight.”
It’s a fight most Aussies can’t win.
Arnold lost damaging winger Martin Boyle to injury before the tournament started.
Their attacking midfielder, Ajdin Hrustic, is not fit enough to start against the French.
Most Aussies think the current Socceroos team can’t win against the French
Captain and goalkeeper Mat Ryan, for the past two years and particularly recently, has struggled to get consistent playing time at the club.
Ditto for defenders Harry Souttar, Kye Rowles and Nathaniel Atkinson who are all returning from recent injury.
Arnold has a strike force of A-League leaders Jamie Maclaren and Jason Cummings, and Japan’s second-tier Mitchell Duke.
Many French players, among the richest in talent and wealth, spread across the biggest clubs in the world, have answered questions about the Socceroos honestly: they don’t know who they are.
“It’s something that’s their point of view,” Arnold said.
“It’s our job to go out there tomorrow and show them who we are as a nation.
French players like Ibrahima Konaté (pictured) – who are among the richest and most talented in all of football – have revealed their knowledge of the Socceroos: they have no idea who they are
“The players have the stage, it’s their stage.
“And it’s an opportunity that can change their lives.”
So how can the Socceroos shock the world with a win at Al Janoub Stadium?
First, have faith.
“It’s about believing in yourself,” Arnold said.
Second, do absolutely everything right.
“Not just one aspect of the game, whether it’s defense or attack,” Arnold said.
“The opposition are dangerous when they don’t have the ball because of the way they are in transition with the counter-attack.
Arnold thinks the Socceroos can win – they just have to do everything right
“So we really have to make sure that every aspect – in defense, in defense at rest, in construction, in attack – we have to be on our game.
“And we will be.”