Australia manager Graham Arnold reiterated Ange Postecoglou’s message for his side to beat England for “the kids and the nation” ahead of the first ever meeting between the countries at Wembley.

Arnold brought in Spurs boss Postecoglou and his fellow former Australia head coach Guus Hiddink in a bid to inspire the Socceroos ahead of Friday’s friendly in London.

Australia are underdogs going into the encounter, having only beaten England once in seven meetings – a 3-1 triumph at Upton Park in 2003 – and sitting 23 spots below their fourth-placed hosts in the FIFA world rankings, but Arnold says his side will only have victory on their minds when they take the pitch.

He said: “The speeches that Ange said yesterday were very similar about what we’ve been saying for years with doing it for the kids in Australia, the nation and your family and people who are close by and the supporters.

“I know one thing is that they (the players) will run until they drop, the energy will be there and they’ll put in the performance of their lives.

“I have got a special relationship with both (Postecoglou and Hiddink). I’ve known Ange for 40 odd years, I’ve played and coached against him, worked with him and we’ve had a great connection for years.

“With Guus, he’s pretty much a mentor to me and like a brother, a father. I’ve got to be careful with what I say because he’s not that old but he’s always been a great man to me and I worked with him during the 2006 World Cup as his assistant.

“We aim to win. We’re not going out there to lose or draw the game, we’re going out there to win the game.

“It’s the culture that we bring. We’ve seen the Socceroos and the Matildas (Australia women’s team) bring the nation together and this is not my team, it’s the nation’s team.”

While Australia are looking to make history at Wembley, Arnold highlighted some of the challenges he says they face trying to grow the game back home.

Despite the successful co-hosting of the Women’s World Cup this summer, where the Matildas got to the semi-finals, Arnold says the infrastructure and support they receive pales in comparison to other sports Down Under, or that England enjoy.

“We don’t get anywhere near the help and resources (of Australian rules football),” Arnold said.

“We see the Prime Minister and the government say they love coming out to watch the Socceroos and Matildas with scarves on but they must lose them when they go home.

“We don’t have a home of football. Whether you believe that or not, we don’t have a home.

“When the Socceroos come to Sydney to train, we have to go to a rugby league field where they remove the posts and put soccer posts up. That’s the truth.

“We are the highest participated sport at grassroots (in Australia). The last four days England have been at St George’s Park and they come down to (Wembley) where they are inspired and have a culture, we don’t have anything like that.

“After the World Cup I said ‘hopefully this will make things change’ and that government funding will help inspire the kid’s lives and fulfil their dreams.”

Australia’s most recent meeting with England saw the home side claim a 2-1 win at the Stadium of Light in 2016, when an 18-year-old Marcus Rashford because the youngest player to score on his England debut.

Roy Hodgson was in charge of England for that match but Arnold, who took charge in 2018, is looking forward to pitting his wits against the present incumbent Gareth Southgate.

Arnold said: “England are a fantastic team and Gareth Southgate is a great coach, a wonderful man and I look forward to seeing him tomorrow night.

“We are very appreciative of the invitation to play here and we’re looking forward to the match.”

Graham Arnold will stay on as Australia head coach heading into the 2026 World Cup.

The Socceroos reached the round of 16 in Qatar last year, matching the achievement of 2006.

After losing to eventual finalists France in their opening group game, Australia beat Tunisia and Denmark to record their best performance at a World Cup finals. They lost 2-1 to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina in a tight last-16 tie.

Arnold, who was caretaker manager of the national team between 2006 and 2007 and also took charge of Australia's Olympic side at the delayed Tokyo 2020 tournament, has now signed a new contract to keep him in place through to the 2026 World Cup, which will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Football Australia chair Chris Nikou said: "What Graham and the entire squad achieved under the most challenging of circumstances during the last FIFA World Cup campaign was exceptional, and we are delighted that we have secured his services for a further four years.

"Football Australia is ambitious, where we expect continued progress and results from our senior and youth national teams, and through our discussions with Graham over recent weeks, we know our thinking is aligned on the future direction of Australian football and the Socceroos."

James Johnson, Football Australia's chief executive, noted Arnold had "contributed to some of Australian football's most iconic moments", but that "his exploits as the Socceroos head coach have propelled him into a league of his own."

Arnold said: "I love Australia and I love Australian football, and nothing in football can ever match the elation, pride and sense of achievement I and the entire set-up felt in Qatar. 

"The hunger to continue in the role has never been stronger and I know I have more to give to the Socceroos' programme and Australian football, where I want to deliver more smiles for our fans as we did in Qatar.

"I approach the next four years with a clean sheet, which is underpinned by a burning ambition to provide more opportunities to our leading emerging and established talent, whilst challenging for major titles starting with the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar next year."

Arnold explained he hopes Australia's performance at the World Cup convinces the country's government to allocate more funding to the sport and establish a permanent base for the Socceroos. 

"It's crazy to think the Socceroos don’t get any high-performance funding from the government," he told reporters.

"They don't have a home. How can you have a football culture if you don't have a home?

"Funding will help the programmes but the home of football is crucial. It's something as a sport we’ve missed out on. We've got nothing, nowhere to go."

Arnold has won 30 of his 51 games in charge of Australia, with his 59 per cent win rate the highest of any of the 12 coaches to have overseen the Socceroos on more than 20 occasions.

Australia's plan to foil Lionel Messi did not come off, but Garang Kuol believes the Socceroos showed in this World Cup campaign they can compete with the best around.

After losing their opening game to France, Australia responded with back-to-back 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark, reaching a last-16 tie against Argentina.

Graham Arnold's side threatened an upset on Saturday, too, but eventually went down 2-1 after Messi inspired La Albiceleste to victory.

Socceroos coach Arnold said of Messi, who scored the opener: "Look, he's incredible, one of the greatest ever.

"We worked really hard to not be in awe of him, because of the great player he is, but he's remarkable.

"I had the privilege of playing against Diego Maradona and now of coaching against Lionel Messi on a few occasions.

"They're both wonderful players and Argentina should be so proud and happy they've produced players of that calibre."

Teenage winger Kuol, who at 18 became the youngest player to feature in a World Cup knockout match since Pele, could have netted a late leveller, only for Emiliano Martinez to block well.

"I was telling myself that I'd come on and score a goal, and Arnie was telling me to come on and do the same thing," Kuol said. "We had the same expectation.

"When I wasn't able to score, I was very disappointed, but we move on.

"I didn't really see much of it. I just turned around and tried to shoot. It was only when I saw the replay I could see the keeper rushed out. It's just a learning curve."

Although Australia came up short against both France and Argentina, Kuol felt their performances were evident of a narrowing gap between the Socceroos and their elite opponents.

"Yeah, 100 per cent," he said. "People think the people in Europe can fly or something, but we're all humans, we've all got two feet. It's all just about the passion and the heart."

Whether Arnold is the man to lead Australia into future meetings with Argentina and Co. remains to be seen.

"I haven't even thought about it," he said. "My contract is up and I just want to go away, have a good holiday, have a break and see what happens.

"I've worked extremely hard throughout this campaign, I did the Olympic team for nothing just to help these players come through.

"I need a break and a rest, then I'm sure I'll have good discussions with the federation."

Graham Arnold believes his Australia side can deliver this World Cup's latest upset win when they face Lionel Messi's Argentina on Saturday.

There have been no shortage of shocks at this tournament, with the Socceroos' Group D defeat of Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark among them.

That victory set up a last-16 tie against Argentina, who were themselves on the wrong end of a surprise result when they lost their opening game to Saudi Arabia.

Australia have enjoyed some success against La Albiceleste in the past, too. Coach Arnold was part of the only senior Socceroos team to beat Argentina back in 1988, although their Olympic team added another triumph last July.

"I just think Argentina bring the best out of Australia," said Arnold on the eve of this latest meeting.

"Our performances every time against Argentina have been very strong and very good, and we go into the game with a lot of belief and a lot of energy. We focus on ourselves and our job."

Harry Souttar was perhaps Australia's standout performer of the group stage and added: "We've already surprised a few people with the results we've had, so we're looking to go and surprise a few more."

Indeed, surprises are perhaps even more likely now in the knockout stage, as Arnold suggested.

"The group games are past us now. It's a whole new ball game," he said. "It's a one-off game, and anything can happen in one-off games.

"There's no disrespect to Argentina at all, but it's 11-v-11, it's 10 blue shirts against 10 yellow shirts, and it's a battle, it's a war. We've got to fight that."

Regardless, Australia remain very much the "underdogs", but that tag suits Arnold, who dismissed the suggestion of any fatigue setting in.

"Everyone's an underdog until you have success," he said. "Nearly everyone in the world at some stage in their life has been an underdog. It's until you have success that you're seen as [that].

"Australia's the underdogs and we love that. We love having our backs to the walls and nobody giving us a chance and going out and fighting the Aussie spirit way. That's our strength."

Graham Arnold suggested Australia could have a "new golden generation" on their hands after they qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup.

The Socceroos' 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday meant they finished second in Group D behind France, despite the defending champions losing 1-0 to Tunisia.

Mathew Leckie's goal on the hour-mark was enough for Australia, and head coach Arnold was beaming with pride at his post-match press conference.

"I'm just so proud of the players," he said. "The work ethic, their commitment, their fight, the way they played.

"Denmark are a very good team, they're top 10 in the world for a reason - defensively, I thought we were outstanding."

After their victory against Tunisia, Australia's win meant they achieved consecutive victories at a World Cup for the first time, while they progressed from the group stages for just the second time in six tournament appearances (also 2006).

Thousands of fans gathered at Federation Square in Melbourne to watch the game and celebrate the win, and Arnold believes it shows the impact of football in the country.

"I truly believe the Socceroos are a team that unites the nation," he added. "When the Cricket World Cup is on you don't see Federation Square like that.

"I'm so proud we've been able to put smiles on people's faces. Maybe we should be talking about a new golden generation now, after the golden generation of 2006 who got four points [at the World Cup in Germany], we got six."

Goalscorer Leckie admitted he had "no idea" that Tunisia had scored against France moments before he did against Denmark, meaning Australia had briefly been on course to head out themselves. 

Speaking to reporters, the 31-year-old described his thinking for the goal, saying: "We won the ball, I had one more man to beat, I wanted to cut inside but the defender went that way too, so just in the moment I went left again and swung the left boot.

"For the celebration I didn't really know what to do. I got slapped in the head [by team-mates and substitutes] about 100 times. It shows how much of a team we are. Everyone's here for each other, it's so nice to be a part of this team."

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand did not want to speak too much about his team's performance, preferring to wait until he had a chance to process it, but did admit: "We did not reach our level, no doubt.

"We did not produce the quality we can. It is my responsibility that when you come to the World Cup that you reach your best level and we didn't do that."

The Danes had 68.8 per cent possession and created 13 chances, but hit the target just three times at Al Janoub Stadium as they crashed out of the tournament.

"We haven't played with the tempo and rhythm," Hjulmand added. "We started well, but our structures went out of the match. There was too little quality.

"We shouldn't have gone in with such emotion, but should have shown more quality. Our quality was good against France, but in the two other games it was not good enough."

Australia advanced to the last 16 of the World Cup after securing a hard-fought 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday.

Mathew Leckie's winning goal at Al Janoub Stadium meant Tunisia - who drew with France - joined Denmark in exiting the tournament as Graham Arnold's side went through as Group D runners-up.

The Socceroos qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup for only a second time from six tournament appearances, having only previously done so in 2006, and will now play the winners of Group C.

It is home time for Kasper Hjulmand's men though, who disappointed after reaching the Euro 2020 semi-finals, and are now winless in their last six World Cup games (D4 L2), since beating Peru in their first game of the 2018 tournament.

Graham Arnold might be targeted by better-known clubs if Australia reach the World Cup second round, but the coach has revealed his heart is set on rejuvenating NAC Breda.

Now aged 59, Arnold was a prolific striker with the Dutch club in the 1990s and has been disheartened to see NAC struggle in recent seasons.

Previously mainstays of the top flight, NAC sit 15th in the second tier, known as the Eerste Divisie, after winning just five of 16 games this term.

They are currently bossed by former Leeds United defender Robert Molenaar, with ex-Netherlands striker Pierre van Hooijdonk recently appointed to a technical role.

Arnold told Voetbal International: "I would love to return to NAC. The negative energy has to get out and the culture has to change. It's about winning again. Hopefully I can try it someday.

"I just want to bring the club back to the Eredivisie. You know, I was there in 2018 by invitation. I stayed at the bar in the second half. It sucked.

"I just couldn't take it any more. Breda deserves a club at the highest level. NAC should play against Ajax, Feyenoord and PSV. Not against Jong FC Utrecht.

"I still follow every game from Australia and every week I get angry when I see the result."

He added: "My heart is with NAC. It's my club and Breda is my city."

Arnold, a former striker for the Australia national team, has spent almost all his coaching career in his home country, having spells in charge of Sydney FC, Northern Spirit and Central Coast Mariners.

His Australia team were 1-0 winners against Tunisia on Saturday, pepping up hopes of reaching the last 16 following a 4-1 defeat to France in their opening game.

The Socceroos complete their group-stage campaign when they tackle Denmark on Wednesday.

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."

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."

Graham Arnold revealed he had "visualised" Australia's impressive 2-0 win over Argentina in their Olympics opener – and said keeping Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona out of conversations was all-important.

Australia head coach Arnold saw his Olyroos team strike a major victory for the underdog with their Tokyo 2020 success in Sapporo, where goals from Lachlan Wales and Marco Tilio did the damage.

Although the Argentina team this year does not carry the same star quality as the 2004 and 2008 sides that featured Carlos Tevez and Lionel Messi respectively, the South Americans were expected to be on a high after their senior side lifted the Copa America trophy earlier this month.

Arnold's Australian troops were highly impressive in the Group C tussle, however, even though their coach still saw room for improvement.

"Nobody would have given us a chance apart from us. I've been visualising this performance for the last couple of weeks, I even visualised the score," Graham said.

"I believe in these boys and I believe so much in them that I'm not happy with our overall performance. I was happy with the work rate, the energy, but at times we turned over the ball too simply and too easily. We need to improve as we go on, and we will."


Arnold pointed to Australia having only one previous Olympic men's football win in the 2000s, a 5-1 win over Serbia and Montenegro in 2004 at the Athens Games.

"It's a great win, but we've done nothing yet. It's three points, we're off to a great start, the first win, but the important thing is improvement," the coach added.

"We didn't mention the name of the opposition, it's all about us. Sometimes when you mention a nation like Argentina's name, everyone just starts thinking of the players, Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, and Copa America champions.

"It was more about focusing on ourselves for the last week and making sure all the players knew their roles, their jobs and building a lot of belief in the players that we could go out there and put in a good performance and win the game."

He vowed Australia were "here to compete for a gold medal" and offered up the victory to those locked down in Australia during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

"It was probably the last thing I mentioned to the players before they went on the pitch," he said. "Australia, New South Wales in particular, is going through a very tough time at the moment with COVID, with lockdown and I just said to the boys, 'A lot of families are locked down at home, let's put a smile on a lot of Australian faces tonight, give them a performance they will remember'.

"I really expect that a lot of people back at home who didn't give us much chance of winning before really enjoyed that. I expect we put a lot of smiles on a lot of faces ... for tonight anyway."

Australia made sure of their place in the third stage of Asia's 2022 World Cup qualifying format with a routine 3-0 victory over 10-man Nepal.

After resounding wins over hosts Kuwait and Chinese Taipai, boss Graham Arnold again rung the changes at Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium but it made little difference to the outcome.

Mathew Leckie, captain for the night, gave the Socceroos an early advantage and Fran Karacic's maiden international goal had doubled the lead by the time Rohit Chand was sent off for a professional foul on Martin Boyle before half-time.

Boyle completed the scoring, with a seventh consecutive win to wrap up top spot in Group B long beyond doubt before then.

It took Leckie only six minutes to find the breakthrough, meeting left-back Aziz Behich's cross with a powerful header.

Karacic enjoyed a moment to savour in the 38th minute after Leckie skipped past a desperate lunge from Suman Aryal and picked out the Brescia right-back to slot home.

Leckie was involved again shortly afterwards as Nepal's evening took another sour turn, releasing Boyle to be unceremoniously brought down by Chand, who gave the referee little option.

Boyle looked set to experience personal disappointment when he botched a free header early in the second half before slicing into the side netting. But a sublime curling cross from Hibernian team-mate Jackson Irvine in the 57th minute allowed the 28-year-old to tap in from close range.

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