WATCH: How Arnold is approaching Qatar 2022

As attention turns to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM, Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold has revealed how he plans to approach the nation's fifth consecutive tournament. 

After a qualification campaign that lasted 1,008 days and saw the Socceroos play just four of its twenty qualification matches on home soil, Arnold’s side put in an inspiring and courageous performance to beat Peru on penalties to qualify for this year's World Cup in Qatar. 

As the celebrations begin to wrap up after the historic and tense penalty shootout victory, Arnold is now turning his attention to Group D, where Australia will face Denmark, France and Tunisia. 

Scenes from the Socceroos World Cup qualification

Having faced off against France and Denmark at the last World Cup, the group is eerily similar to Russia 2018. So similar that the Socceroos will again face France in their opening match. 

While Les Bleus defeated the Socceroos 2-1 on that day and went on to win the tournament in Russia, the Socceroos showed signs that they can put up a fight against the world's best. 

This time around, France will be hoping to become only the third country to lift the World Cup back-to-back. The feat has not been achieved since Italy in 1934/ 38 and Brazil in 1958/ 62. 

The last time France was the defending World Cup winner was in 2002, they came fourth in their group, managing only a point.

Graham Arnold has always had a green and gold heart.

Arnold knows this year’s tournament will throw up many challenges but he believes the first game is the perfect time to face the reigning champions. 

“It’s nearly exactly the same group as 2018 with a country (France) that has never gone back to back,” Arnold said on Nine’s Wide World of Sport on Sunday.

“Normally, a top country really starts off slow and this is our opportunity - the first game against France. 

“I was in Russia in 2018 in the grandstand and I felt that we didn’t try to win the game against France, we tried not to lose it.

We will go out there with obviously great expectations, but also go out there and take it to them, because even the Peru game showed if you take away their strengths ... no one likes to play under pressure, and we will go out there and give it a great shot.”

Trent Sainsbury in action at the 2018 FIFA World Cup against France
Trent Sainsbury in action at the 2018 FIFA World Cup against France.

Arnold also revealed that he will be lobbying to bring forward the start of the A-League Men’s season this year to give his players the best opportunity to be match-fit before the World Cup in Qatar.

The A-League Men season is due to get underway in mid-October but in years gone past, disruptions due to COVID-19 have caused the start of the seasons to be shifted. 

Arnold was confident those involved would support his request to provide as much time as possible to assess players for the tournament, which begins on November 21.

“That (starting the season early) is something I’ll speak to James Johnson and Danny Townsend about this week because we need the players fit,” Arnold said. 

I need to be able to see players to select because it takes a good five to six weeks to get started in a new season.

“So that is something that will be spoken about but  I’m sure we will get the support from them."

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