Are you kidding, Arnie? Graham Arnold urges his players to ‘be honest’ and admit they need to be RESTED for historic game against Argentina… and Socceroo’s coach insists the two-day turnaround is ‘fantastic’ for his team
Graham Arnold wants his players to be honest about their fitness ahead of a historic World Cup clash with Argentina on Sunday morning (AEDT).
The Socceroos coach acknowledged fatigue is unlikely to be on his players’ minds as they prepare for Australia’s first knockout stage since 2006.
But the Round of 16 meeting with Lionel Messi will be the Socceroos’ fourth game in the space of 12 days and Arnold has warned his players to put the collective before the individual.
Graham Arnold has urged his players to be fair ahead of the game against Argentina
‘I have to see it […] which are stiff or have bumps and cannot recover,” he said at his press conference on Friday.
“It will be an honest conversation between myself and the players.
“I know all those players want to start. But it’s not about them. It’s about the team and the country.
“They have to be honest back.”
The Socceroos boss wants his players to admit they need a rest against Argentina
Australia will take on Lionel Messi in the Round of 16 on Sunday morning (AEDT)
Only five members of Arnold’s 26-man squad have played less than a minute in Qatar, while nine other players have played less than 90 minutes in the first two games combined.
At the same time, the 59-year rotation has been kept to a minimum.
Nathaniel Atkinson started at right-back against France, but was replaced by Fran Karacic for the match against Tunisia, who then gave way to Milos Degenek for the match against Denmark.
And Arnold hinted he could brush things up on Sunday should some of his players indicate they need a rest.
Only five members of Arnold’s 26-man squad have played less than a minute in Qatar
“I almost always sit down with the player to see how he is personally and if there is a player who says, ‘Look, I feel like I can’t start,’ then they have to be honest,” he said.
“Let’s make those changes and they can continue for the last half hour.
“Instead of starting, you can finish and finish a game for us.”
Australia and Argentina go into their Round of 16 encounter with net two days of rest after their last game.
Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni (left) slammed FIFA for scheduling the round of 16 just three days after Argentina and Australia’s final group stage match, but Arnold insisted it was no big deal
Degenek and Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni have both described FIFA’s schedule as unsustainable, but Arnold insisted he was enjoying the brief turnaround.
“A quick turnaround is good because we’re right back into it, which is fantastic,” he said.
‘That’s how it is. It’s not just for one team, it’s for all teams.
“So let’s not use that as an excuse.”