Graham Arnold survives as Socceroos coach after making World Cup

How Socceroos coach Graham Arnold overcame calls for his sacking just weeks before his genius goalkeeping swap led to the team’s incredible win to qualify for the World Cup

  • Speculation about Graham Arnold’s future as Socceroos coach quashed for now
  • Socceroos did it the hard way to qualify for fifth consecutive World Cup
  • Arnold’s head was on the chopping block after Australia failed to qualify directly
  • Slammed during game for not making changes before swapping goalkeepers
  • Arnold said his doubters don’t bother him after bold tactic proved to be genius
  • Click here for all the latest World Cup 2022 news and updates

There were few Australians more relieved than Graham Arnold when the Socceroos qualified for their fifth consecutive World Cup on Tuesday morning. 

The man fans described as the ‘Scott Morrison of football’ has survived another day as Socceroos coach and proved his doubters wrong after the team’s heartstopping win against Peru in a penalty shootout.

For months, Arnold has been the scapegoat of Australian football as fans, commentators and legends of the game joined the bandwagon calling for him to be sacked after the Socceroos were forced to qualify the hard way.

Arnold’s head was on the chopping block after Australia failed to directly qualify for the World Cup in Qatar this year via the Asian group stages earlier this year.

Many speculated the axe was looming for former Socceroo as they questioned whether he should remain in charge for this month’s crucial play-offs in the Middle East.

Even during the final qualifier against Peru, frustrated fans questioned why Arnold wasn’t looking to his bench and making changes as scores remained deadlocked at nil-all.

Under-fire Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has survived another day in the top job

‘Graham Arnold is the Scott Morrison of Football, not a Proactive bone in his body! Game needs Tillio ,D’Agastino or Maclaren NOW,’ one fan fumed.

Another added: ‘Still won’t bring on fresh legs. No matter what happens, Arnold still has no clue.’ 

Arnold made a huge change when he swapped goalkeeper Mat Ryan for substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to face the penalty shootout to decide the match.

The bold move left many fans scratching their heads, with armchair critics believing the ploy made no sense.

‘Whether he’s better or not, one minute of game time before the shootout is not a good idea,’ one fan fumed.

Another added: ‘This is what will cost us the World Cup.’

A third quipped: ‘Arnold must have holidays booked during the World Cup.’

The bold tactic proved to be a masterstroke with Redmayne causing one of Peru’s shots to hit the post and making one vital save to book Australia’s spot in the final 32.

The moment Graham Arnold’s decision to swap goalkeepers for the penalty shootout against Peru paid off, as Andrew Redmayne makes the crucial save of Peruvian player Valera’s shot

Graham Arnold was full of emotion as he embraced his players after the heartstopping win

The win extends Arnold’s time at the helm until after the Socceroos’ World Cup campaign in Qatar later this year.

Arnold struggled to contain his emotion during his first post-match interview, adding his team played 16 of their 20 World Cup qualifiers on the road.

‘I’m just…  so proud of the players, you know?’ he told Channel 10.

‘No one knows what those boys have been through to get to here. 

‘It was so hard, the whole campaign, and the way they’ve stuck at it and committed themselves to it, incredible.’

‘They have been through so much. It’s been tough but we did it!’

He put everything into perspective when asked about his critics.

‘The doubters don’t bother me, it is these boys I care for, the game I care for, and I do it for my family,’ Arnold said.

‘I want to dedicate this one to my brother, Colin. 

‘When my parents died when I was young, I didn’t have anyone really to support, my older brother has been that my whole life, and he is number one.’

The Socceroos had to do it the hard way to qualify for their fifth consecutive World Cup

Arnold was hailed as a hero and a genius after the match while others said he deserved an apology after proving his doubters wrong.

Former NSL star and commentator Andy Harper questioned whether Arnold was the right man for the job after Japan ended the Socceroos’ hopes of direct qualification in March.

He launched into a scathing attack of Arnold and Football Australia, citing poor results against Oman, China and Saudi Arabia earlier in the group stage,

‘The problem with this team and the extent to which Graham Arnold has control of this problem or not is those three draws against teams we should have beaten,’ said Harper.

‘Who’s in control of this horrible week? I can’t recall a more chaotic week with the Socceroos.

‘Let’s not just stop at Graham Arnold, what about the full body cavity search here? 

‘This is a big-ticket item, Australia versus Japan, they’re our number one rivals … and we stagger into this match. So many empty seats here, who is accountable for that?

‘And it is very, very convenient to pour all of this at the feet of Graham Arnold, and I think he is accountable on some of the football issues.

‘Those three draws, they killed the campaign. Am I being too harsh on this?’

The Socceroos’ win against Peru to qualify for Qatar likely saved Graham Arnold’s job as coach

Three months on, the tables have turned with nothing but praise for Arnold.

‘There was so much pressure on the coach,’ Harper said post-match on Tuesday.

‘Questions of the coach. A queue of people waiting to take a baseball bat to the coach. And Redmayne saves the team, the campaign and now Australia is off to a fifth consecutive World Cup.

‘A massive acknowledgement to Graham Arnold. What he has had to endure as a coach to get to this point over many years, what a crowning glory for him.

‘People have got opinions on this and that on the other, but when you come to the end of a penalty shoot-out, if they didn’t win that they would be the other side of the coin, but the fact of the matter is the team under him prevailed, he guided the team to World Cup football, the biggest sporting event on the planet, and massive congratulations.’

Graham Arnold’s controversial tactic to bring on substitute goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne for the penalty shootout paid off

Source: Read Full Article