Australia coach Graham Arnold has vowed that his side will not sit back against Argentina and Lionel Messi when both sides meet in the World Cup knockout round.
The Socceroos stunned the world and many neutrals when they qualified from their World Cup group ahead of Tunisia and Denmark, two teams currently ahead of them in FIFA rankings.
They did so despite not having a single player from a major European league and keeping two clean sheets.
And ahead of their meeting with South American superpowers and one of the tournament’s favourite teams, head coach Graham Arnold has insisted that his side have nothing to fear.
“It’s 10 blue shirts against 10 yellow shirts and it’s a battle and a war that we will fight,” said Arnold.
“We will go out there all guns blazing. My players are not tired. I can see that in their eyes and their faces. There is no fatigue.
“They are ready. This is a moment of their lives, and they are ready to grab hold of it. When I see them walking down the hall, I can see they are ready to go.”
Arnold, who managed an Australia Under 23 team that beat Argentina 2-0 at the Olympics in Tokyo last year was almost sacked when Australia’s attempts to automatically qualify failed.
However, according to Arnold via Sportsmail, the 20-game qualifying campaign that saw the Socceroos play some of their matches in Qatar, because of Covid restrictions in Australia, has only brought his squad together.
“I think this World Cup campaign has helped to reunite our nation after Covid,’ he said. ‘It has reunited our football.
“I think the universe is paying us back now. We played only four of those 20 qualifying games at home. We had some hard journeys through Covid and now I am looking at the positives. I honestly believe Covid helped unite this team together.
“We won six of the seven qualifiers we played here in Qatar. We are familiar with it. This feels like a second home to us.
“The name Argentina resonates around the world and it’s inspiring to play against them. But you are going to see the best of our players.”