Arnold to lead Socceroos to next World Cup


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Graham Arnold will lead the Socceroos through to the end of the 2026 World Cup campaign, capping off his impressive turnaround in fortunes with a new long-term deal.

Ten months after being on the brink of the sack amid a stuttering qualifying campaign, Arnold’s brilliant efforts in Qatar have delivered him the opportunity to become the first man to lead the Socceroos at consecutive World Cups.

Given the World Cup results, the decision on whether the 59-year-old would continue as coach had been up to Arnold, with little doubt FA would offer him a new contract.

“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,” Arnold said in a statement.

“The hunger to continue in the role has never been stronger and I know I have more to give to the Socceroos’ program 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, who started in the role after the 2018 World Cup, survived by the skin of his teeth last March after the Socceroos finished third in their group and had to qualify via the play-offs.

But while support elsewhere wavered, Arnold never lost the backing of his players, and that solidified after qualification, then the World Cup campaign.

In Qatar, the Socceroos won two games at a World Cup for the first time and advanced to the round of 16 for only the second occasion.

“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,” FA chairman Chris Nikou said in a statement.

Arnold will now be entrusted with taking forward the Socceroos’ next generation, including rising stars such as Garang Kuol and Harry Souttar.

His role will be expanded to involve mentoring Australia’s youth coaches, working alongside chief football officer Ernie Merrick on talent identification and pathways and working with FA on securing greater football infrastructure.

The Socceroos will eye redemption for their 2019 Asian Cup quarter-final exit before World Cup qualification heats up.

The 2026 World Cup, held in Canada, Mexico and the United States, will be expanded to 48 teams.


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