Arnold craving more ‘individual quality’ following Lebanon rout

Subway Socceroos coach Graham Arnold says he still wants to raise the standards despite last night’s comprehensive win in Canberra.

Australia put Lebanon to the sword, getting up 5-0 in front of a record crowd for a football match at GIO Stadium.

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The side burst into the lead two minutes into the match through Kusini Yengi but did not add to that advantage heading into halftime.

Arnold said he was expecting more goals from the team, given the dominance they displayed in the first half, which was addressed in the halftime team talk.


“[It was] a great start and getting the goal early,” he said.

“We should have been up three or four nil at halftime, and this is stuff that I've been driving with the boys about raising our standards.

“When I say that, it's about taking those opportunities to kill teams off, not letting them stay in the game.

“At halftime, we had some good clips from the first half and showing the boys where the spaces were and how the centre-backs were tracking in so when someone came short, the other one had to run long.”


Australia started the second half on fire, grabbing two goals inside the first three minutes.

They added a further couple of goals later on in the match, to round out a convincing victory.

Craig Goodwin was amongst the goals, securing a brace while also contributing to two other goals courtesy of deliveries into the box.

Arnold said the 32-year-old winger still has plenty to offer the Socceroos.

“He's a top-quality player, but he's a fantastic person and a great leader,” he said. 

“His delivery, set pieces are fantastic and with his finishing; it's just got better and better as he gets older.

“The conversation we had after the Asian Cup was pretty much you only have a short career in life. Don't throw it away now and keep young and just do one year at a time.

“Players have limited time for their careers. And I think he's nearly in his prime.”

Newly minted Socceroos Patrick Yazbek and John Iredale combined for the team’s fourth, with the pair being closely guided by Arnold over the last couple of years.

Arnold said it was a proud day to see two younger players coming into the squad and combining for Australia.

"We're trying to regenerate the Socceroos squad while we’re playing World Cup qualifiers,” he said.

“I believe in youngsters, and Yazbek did exceptionally well when he came on. The energy, the speed was fantastic, and it's great for him to debut.

“Johnny Iredale, he's a kid that's got the X Factor and he just probably needs a bit more game time.

“I'm trying to look at all different number nines, and he gives you, like Yengi, a different style and a different way to the other nines that we've got.”

However, for Arnold, Tuesday’s game did not completely satisfy, with the requisite ruthlessness still lacking.

He said he is eager for players to take responsibility for their own quality and be ready when they come into a Socceroos camp.

“I had a strong conversation with the players about individual quality and ownership because I get one session or two sessions. Basically, you’ve got to be the finished product when you come into camp," Arnold said.

“If you're doing a shooting, for example, do more at your club, and, remember what I'm saying: put the ball in the back of the net when you're shooting.

“They've got to be the finished product physically, technically, tactically. We give them a structure. But for me, our strength is Aussie DNA, the mentality and that's what we're working hard on.”

Australia are next in action in June when they finish off the first round of their World Cup qualifying against Bangladesh and Palestine.

While already being qualified, Arnold said he is emphasising the importance of FIFA ranking points so winning games will be of priority next window. 

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