Arnold devastated with defeat but proud of Socceroos' efforts at Asian Cup
The Subway Socceroos bowed out of the Asian Cup at the Quarter Final stage after defeat in extra time against Korea Republic.
Head coach Graham Arnold shared how devastated he and the staff were after the match, but gave credit to the effort from the group throughout the tournament.
“Quite devastating at the moment, quite emotional for all the players and staff and how we finished the game, I think for the first 90 odd minutes we did very well until obviously giving that penalty away with a minute to go,” he said.
“But overall, the tournament has been a great tournament to experience for a lot of my players and I think the Asian Cup and especially Qatar have done a great job.”
After the Socceroos lead 1-0 for nearly the entire second half, Korea were forced into chasing an equaliser and through everything into that.
Arnold said he tried to make a tactical change to a back five to counteract their drive forward.
“They threw an extra couple of players up front, it was many times a six against four, especially on that right side and so to make a tactical change to go to a back five to deal with that was going well, until obviously the penalty,” he said.
“It is what it is and it's hard to at the moment emotionally to give too much information, but I need to go home, obviously and watch it. I've learned a lot from this Asian Cup.”
He did accept that the Socceroos had chances to go further in front when they were 1-0 up and said when you don’t take those chances, you get punished.
“We're up one nil, we had chances to make it two nil or three nil and we didn't take our chances. It gets down to the individual to put the ball in the back of the net, and if you don't take those chances, you get punished, and that's what that's exactly what happened,” he said.
Looking at the game on the whole he said the Socceroos did well, and the youthful squad gave him plenty to think about, but were just unable to get the job done.
“I thought that overall, we dealt with them very, very well and we've got a very young squad,”
“Tonight, you saw quite a number of new players on the pitch and as I said, I think after this Asian Cup, I’ll go home and no doubt there's some older players that may retire and move on and I've learned a lot from the other new players that are bought in.”
“These boys will be on a plane in the next five or six hours to get back to their clubs, it's a different environment to here, and they'll be fine.”
Finally, Arnold gave thanks to the players and staff who have helped make this Asian Cup a memorable experience.
“The boys, I've got to thank them and the staff and the commitment the boys have given me, and the staff have been fantastic. We've got a great culture, a great environment,” he said.