Will the early worm get the World Cup? The Socceroos certainly hope this will be the case, as the first players landed in Qatar nine days before their first game against the mighty France.
The Scottish Premiership contingent were among the first to arrive, with Celtic’s Aaron Mooy and Dundee United’s Aziz Behich landing at Hamad International Airport in Doha on Monday, Australian time.
Aaron Mooy (left) and Aziz Behich (center) were two of the first Socceroos to land at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, on Monday morning, Australian time.
Mooy and Behich board a train ready to settle in the camp. They will soon be joined by the rest of the 26-man squad
The side’s A-League players are also on the air, with the New South Wales contingent of Andrew Redmayne, Jason Cummings and Garang Kuol recording a farewell message at Sydney International Airport.
“I’m about to fly out of Sydney and I’m looking forward to going to the World Cup,” said Redmayne.
“Can’t wait to catch up with the boys… come on with the boys.”
The seven A-League players selected in Graham Arnold’s World Cup roster have come through unscathed from their last club appearances before the tournament.
Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Redmayne, Kuol, Cummings, Danny Vukovic and Craig Goodwin all played one last game for their club after being unveiled to the 26-man roster on Tuesday.
Kuol made the most of his time on the pitch, scoring his first two goals of the season.
Socceroos squad for the 2022 World Cup
Mathew Leckie and Jamie Maclaren
Mat Ryan (C), Danny Vukovic, Andrew Redmayne
Nathaniel Atkinson, Aziz Behich, Fran Karacic, Joel King, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar, Milos Degenek, Thomas Deng, Bailey Wright
Keanu Baccus, Cameron Devlin, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy, Riley McGree
Craig Goodwin, Martin Boyle, Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil, Mat Leckie, Garang Kuol, Mitchell Duke, Jason Cummings
Adelaide skipper Goodwin was instrumental in a 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory, with a penalty converted and later Ben Warland put down to seal the result.
Melbourne City pair Leckie and Maclaren together defeated the Newcastle Jets 2-1, with Leckie being named player of the match and Maclaren scoring the goal that sealed the win.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold previously said he believes Australia’s experience in the Middle East in qualifying, early arrivals and softer workload en route to the World Cup would serve them well.
“Some of the bigger nations… their players have been beaten up,” Arnold said Fox Sports.
‘They play with their clubs on the weekends, but (also) Champions League matches and many midweek matches.
‘[In comparison] many of our boys play one a week in the A-League.’
He went one step further, saying he expected Asian countries to cause a shock, with the Socceroos getting their first chance when they take on defending champions France.
“I hear that some European countries, or many countries, first camp in Europe and then come three days before their first game,” Arnold said.
“But my experience is that Qatar is different. The weather is very different. The stadiums, air-conditioned stadiums, are different and making sure you get that right is a big point.
‘…I think there will be quite a few surprises at this World Cup and I see the Asian countries doing well.
“I think some of the bigger countries will find it very difficult and we as an Asian nation have the experience of playing in many countries in the Middle East before we know what it’s like.”
The Socceroos will now settle in their state-of-the-art training base at the Aspire Academy in the Doha Sports City.
Socceroos legend Tim Cahill arranged the accommodation with opulent, modern facilities and access to leading fitness and training facilities.
The facility includes a climate-controlled indoor multi-purpose arena and the training fields will also be used by Qatar and Ghana, who are also using the base for their preparations.
Cahill is the chief sports officer of Aspire Academy, and he has credited the facility for the dramatic improvement the host country has shown in recent years.
Pictured: The state-of-the-art Aspire Academy the Socceroos will be home to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
Accommodation at Aspire Academy. Sufficient training facilities are available for the Socceroos during their stay
The Socceroos kick off their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 campaign against defending champions France at Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday, November 22 at 10pm local / Wednesday, November 23 at 6am AEDT.
Socceroos World Cup Schedule
Wednesday November 23
Australia vs France, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, 6:00 AM (AEDT)
Saturday 26 November
Australia vs Tunisia, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, 9:00 PM (AEDT)
thursday 1 december
Australia vs Denmark, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, 2:00 AM (AEDT)