AL RAYYAN, Qatar, Nov 25 (Reuters) – Australia’s record at World Cups is nothing to write home about but coach Graham Arnold hopes this will act as motivation against Tunisia on Saturday and will turn them into the next golden generation of their country.
Australia are on a seven-match winless run at World Cups following their Group D opening 4-1 defeat by reigning world champions France and have won just two of 17 matches in the tournament’s history. Their last win dates back to 2010.
“We have won two games out of 17 at the World Cup. We now want to put some smiles on Australian faces,” Arnold told reporters. “When we win a game I would love to see the footage of all the smiling faces (back home).
“We use the record as motivation. We have won two of 17. It is not a fantastic record. We will go out there to become the next golden generation.”
Arnold will not have right back Nathaniel Atkinson available for the match with the defender having picked up an ankle injury.
Arnold said he would be replaced by Fran Karacic.
“We are getting him ready tonight in training for the game,” the coach added.
“Tomorrow is a different kettle of fish (compared to the France game). We will be in their faces, up high, chasing and pressing, like they do and as other teams do, and being on the front foot.”
Fellow defender Aziz Behich said playing in front of thousands of Tunisian fans, who will outnumber the small group of Australians in the stands, was something all players were looking forward to.
“This hostile environment puts a fire in my belly,” Behich said.
For Arnold it is an equally exciting prospect and would not affect his team’s performance.
“It will be a fantastic experience and great for us to play in front of a such an exciting group of Tunisian fans,” Arnold said.
“It won’t affect us at all. We are going out there and (will) get our job done and nullify what Tunisia have. Tomorrow will be a very, very physical game – Tunisia like a physical game.”
Australia play Denmark in their final group game and Arnold said while a win would be key for them, it was not necessarily a do-or-die match.
“The other teams also have to play France. Listen, we got to get something out of this match. We got to get a result,” he said.
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann
Editing by Christian Radnedge
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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Aha, now I see…I didn’t really understand the connection to the title itself…