‘Why can’t we shock the world?’: Arnold reacts to Caltex Socceroos Copa America draw

Graham Arnold says Australia’s participation at the Copa America 2020 can be a game-changer for the Caltex Socceroos and declared he hopes to shock the world and beat Argentina in their own backyard.

The Caltex Socceroos found out their group stage opponents on Wednesday, pitted against Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Argentina in the ‘South Zone’.

All of Australia’s group games will be played in Argentina, starting with a huge clash against Uruguay in Cordoba on June 13.

Arnold is thrilled with Australia’s draw and believes it’s a huge opportunity to showcase the Caltex Socceroos quality against some of South America’s – and the world’s – best players.

“I’ve never coached a team with any other mentality than winning the game and nothing will be different,” Arnold told reporters after the draw.

OFFICIAL: Caltex Socceroos' Copa America opponents revealed
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“Why can’t we shock the world? That’s always been my way, winning, so why can’t we go out and shock the world and beat Argentina in their own country.

“That’s the purpose and that’s the expectation.”

Arnold said Australia’s first goal would be to qualify for the quarter finals, which they will achieve if they finish in the top four of their group.

But regardless of the final outcome, the tournament will give the Caltex Socceroos at least five more quality matches on the road to qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Asked what this experience can do for the team, Arnold said: “This can change our game.

“It can change what we’re doing as a group of people but also for the players, it will be a phenomenal experience. The players are hungry for it.

“To be able to go to the Copa America and give people the experience, tough competition against top players and such a prestigious tournament is going to be great for the next phase of our World Cup qualifiers.”

Wednesday’s draw is the start of a busy period for Arnold and the national team set-up, with Olympic Games qualifiers for the Australian U-23 side early next year as well as four more FIFA World Cup qualifiers before the tournament.

“There’s a lot of work to do behind the scenes but we’ll get a full analysis team to give us full reports on all those teams and we’ll look forward to going across to Argentina,” Arnold said.

“It’s about testing ourselves at the highest level.

“Just to be invited into the Copa America and to have this possibility to play against these calibre of teams, it’s just going to hold the game in good stead for ourselves for the future.”

Copa America 2020
The two groups at next year's Copa America