'Now focus on Denmark' urges Australia boss Arnold

By Sports Desk November 26, 2022 541

Coach Graham Arnold wants his Australia players to swiftly forget their 1-0 World Cup win over Tunisia and turn their attention to securing qualification for the knockout stage against Denmark.

Mitchell Duke scored the only goal, glancing home Craig Goodwin's deflected cross in the 23rd minute, before the Socceroos withstood some concerted Tunisia pressure to secure their first win at a World Cup in 12 years and first clean sheet since 1974.

The win moves Australia on to three points and with renewed hope of advancing out of Group D. Next up on Wednesday is a clash with the Danes and that has already become the focus of Arnold's attention.

Asked about his approach to that game, he said: "We've got to see what the result is tonight [between France and Denmark] but nothing will change, we’ll focus on ourselves and getting ourselves right.

"I am very proud but we've achieved nothing. We can talk after about one win and that it hasn't been done for 12 years and all that stuff.

"We are here to go as far as we can go. I don't want the players sitting up all night looking at social media, we need to recover well and get ready for Denmark."

The goal was a special moment for Duke and he celebrated by making a J sign with his fingers to son Jaxson, who was watching on from the stands. Television images showed his son replying in kind.

Duke said: "I spoke to my son and told him I was going to score – you have to have that belief that you are going to score in every match. I told my son that I was going to share that moment with him."

The 31-year-old, who plays in Japan with second division side Fagiano Okayama, was reunited with Jaxson and daughter Chloe at the start of November and admitted it was difficult being apart from his family.

"Definitely, when the final whistle went and I was interviewed by TV, I was trying to hold back the tears," he added. "I have been on my own a lot over the last couple of years and there has been a lot of sacrifice. It's the best feeling in the world."

Tunisia must now beat defending champions France on Wednesday and hope other results go their way if they are to go through.

Coach Jalel Kadri bemoaned his side's lack of cutting edge but insisted all was not lost.

He said: "During the first half, we did not perform the way we wanted to, Australia led us into playing a style we did not like.

"They dominated the game, created one chance and scored and unfortunately we could not equalise. We changed tactics two or three times in the second half and created four or five chances but we were not clinical enough. They were very efficient in converting their chance.

"The World Cup has a surprise for everyone, even the larger teams have been beaten by the underdogs. We were not expecting to lose [to Australia] but we have one game to go and we will play our hearts out."

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Last modified on Saturday, 26 November 2022 09:15
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