Australia meet Jordan later today in a AFC Asian Cup 2019 Group B match, and their coach Graham Arnold has a warning for anyone who’s reading into the absence of household names in the team.
Long time stalwards like Tim Cahill and Mile Jedinak will be missing from the Australian line up as the socceroos kick off their Asian Cup tournament with a Group B encounter against Jordan at the Hazza Bin Zayed stadium in Abu Dhabi.
Heading into the match, Arnold spoke of the readiness of his team to go on and perform strongly in the tournament despite the lack of big names.
“These boys are ready,” he said. “I’m expecting a great performance and a great scoreline. I get goosebumps now thinking about it because it’s like we’ve got some great players.”
“I do believe quite a number don’t realise how good this team is and how good this team will be.”
Arnold also discussed how the defending Champions may fare against the other teams in the group, Syria and Palestine.
“We will nullify their strengths, we work on that the day before the game and expose their weaknesses,” he said . “The commitment to each other is there, no excuses, and I can’t wait to get started.”
A welcome addition to the Australian squad heading into the tournament is that of Hertha BSC attacker Mathew Leckie, who sustained a torn hamstring that threatened to rule him out altogether. However, having stayed with the team in the UAE and worked with the physiotherapists to make a quick recovery, Arnold is hopeful that the player will feature at some point in the group stages.
“He’s [Leckie] coming along really well,” said Arnold.
“Obviously it’s one game at a time and we’ve really thrown our belief behind him, and he has a strong will to be with us. He’s worked hard since he came into camp and at this minute he’s only out for the first game and we’ll reassess for the second game.”
Australia take on Palestine on 11th January and Syria on the 15th, to round off the group fixtures.