Australia coach Arnold refusing to mention Mbappe and Griezmann ahead of France showdown

By Sports Desk November 21, 2022 381

Graham Arnold has refused to mention the names of France's star players, including Kylian Mbappe, ahead of Australia's clash against the World Cup holders.

The Socceroos meet Les Bleus for the second successive finals, with Paul Pogba's deflected late strike sealing a narrow 2-1 win for Didier Deschamps' side in Russia four years ago.

Australia head into their Group D opener having failed to register a clean sheet in 10 previous World Cup matches against European nations, with their only clean sheet at the finals against any opposition coming in a goalless draw against Chile in 1974.

But Arnold, who was the Socceroos' assistant to Pim Verbeek at the 2010 tournament in South Africa, has tried to ease the pressure on his players.

"It's not being disrespectful at all, but I've hardly mentioned the word France," he said. "And I've hardly mentioned any of the players' names because the players know who they are,

"It's one against one, it's 10 blue shirts against 10 yellow shirts, and it's a fight. That's what it is."

Mat Ryan, who is set to become the first Australia goalkeeper to appear at three World Cups, was between the sticks for that 2-1 defeat in 2018.

But despite the reverse, the Socceroos captain believes the experience will serve his side well four years later.

"[We] felt like we almost got a great result there against France, and we felt were quite unlucky," he reflected.

"Something that I learned that day, you've got to have the right amount of respect for the opposition, but don't be in awe of them or be overwhelmed too much.

"We're playing some very good players in a good team, but we're all human out there, and we've got a real good chance to win."

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Last modified on Monday, 21 November 2022 12:00
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