Arnold urges Caltex Socceroos to play their way into his FIFA World Cup™ plans

Graham Arnold has urged his much-changed Caltex Socceroos squad to seize their opportunity and earn a place in his FIFA World Cup™ plans.

Only six of the 23-player roster preparing to face Korea Republic in a sold-out Busan Asiad Stadium on Friday 7 June, 9pm AEST, were selected for the AFC Asian Cup six months ago. 

PREVIEW: The Caltex Socceroos take on Korea Republic in Busan 
HOW TO WATCH: Korea Republic v Caltex Socceroos

With Australia’s World Cup qualifying campaign due to start in September, Arnold is determined to create competition for places in his starting line-up.

Following an Asian Cup campaign blighted by injuries, the Caltex Socceroos head coach wants a deeper pool of options ready and raring to go should a similar scenario arise on the road to the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Arnold addresses his team to take on Korea Republic on Friday
Arnold addresses his squad as they prepare to take on Korea Republic on Friday


“This is really the first step of our World Cup campaign. Moving forward we’ve got a big World Cup campaign in front of us and you need depth, you need quality, and that will come after this game tomorrow night,” said Arnold. 

“We had players retire after the last World Cup. I don’t expect to be put in a position like I was before at the Asian Cup, where the whole front line got injured, we got injuries through the tournament, and not really knowing players.

“Being able to have this opportunity to work with these boys in this camp, which is another different 20 players, and working with the Olympic team, I have now worked closely with 65 players and, when you coach, you trust." 

You trust the players, they go on the pitch and they do a great job.”

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Opportunity knocks

Eighteen of Arnold’s 23 players in Busan are yet to hit double figures in international caps.

Of the five who have, Caltex Socceroos regular Aziz Behich has been named captain for the night, while Bailey Wright, Rhys Williams, Matthew Spiranovic and Brad Smith may get the chance to stake a claim for a permanent recall.

“It’s a case of them having a great opportunity to start their international career or to revitalise their international career,” said Arnold.

“Normally when people get opportunities like this, obviously there’s a lot of energy. But they need to control their emotions and stick to the game plan.

“We’ve worked hard on the principles of how we expect to play the game. They are all in great shape.

"There is a great vibe around the place, a lot of excitement of course, a full house tomorrow night, and we’re looking forward to the game.”

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