12/26/2018 10:59:45 PM (GMT+3)

Socceroos ready to defend AFC Asian Cup in style

Socceroos ready to defend AFC Asian Cup in style

ABU DHABI, UAE: Defending champions Australia arrived here on Wednesday and immediately had a training session as they prepare to defend their coveted crown against Asia’s elite in the biggest-ever AFC Asian Cup, which will take place from January 5 to February 1, 2019.

The Socceroos have witnessed a period of transition over the last four years after the retirement of arguably one of the country’s greatest-ever players in Tim Cahill and have since appointed a new coach in Graham Arnold.

Despite taking over the reins after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, Arnold is no stranger to the hot seat or the AFC Asian Cup, having been at helm during Australia’s first-ever foray in the Continental showpiece at the 2007 edition.

“In 2007, I was the interim coach and I probably didn’t deserve to be in that job and that role at that time, but I have gone away and worked hard in club land and I feel that I deserve the role this time. So, I am really looking forward to the challenges ahead,” said Arnold who is clearly relishing the prospect of returning to the pinnacle stage.

“It was our first time in Asia and it was our first time in a major tournament in Asia, so we learnt a lot from it. We learnt that you need to prepare properly, that there are no easy games, that you need to be mentally switched on for every game, and that you need to adapt to the conditions to the style of game that you play,” he added.

Since his last stint, Arnold has enjoyed successful spells with Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC, winning three A-League Premiership titles and results on the international arena following his return has been impressive with early and convincing victories against Lebanon and Kuwait enroute to the UAE.

“In our preparations, we have played against Kuwait and Lebanon who are very similar to the three nations that we have drawn in the group,” added the Socceroos coach, who have been drawn in Group B alongside Jordan, Palestine and Syria. (Source: the-afc.com)