Socceroos bounce out of comfort zone

Members of the Australian Socceroos football squad have arrived in Kuwait as they prepare for Wednesday’s Asian Cup qualifier.

    Australia have already qualified for the 2007 Asian Cup

    Socceroos coach Graham Arnold was happy to answer the usual line of questions, so long as it meant he could avoid the Kuwaiti sun as he and his squad struggled to adjust to sweltering local conditions.


    The members of the squad, who were the first to qualify for next year's Asian Cup, flew in from Australia and Europe last night with many battling travel time of up to 20 hours.


    Arnold, who took the reins from World Cup coach Guus Hiddink after the Dutchman departed for Russia, sees the positives of moving into the Asian Confederation.


    "The heat is horrendous," Arnold said "but it’s all part of moving into Asia, it gives our players the opportunities to travel to different countries, play in different circumstances and take them out of their comfort zone."


    With the mercury closing in on 50 degrees Celsius, the side is looking to train at night and minimize the effects of the harsh natural environment.


    "We only have three substitutions, so we have to use them wisely. I think we’ll do away with our pressing game and try to make the field as small as possible," said the former Socceroo striker who scored 56 times for his country.


    After winning the corresponding match in Sydney 2-0 Arnold doesn’t believe he'll see anything different from the hosts.


    "I'd expect the same team and the same style, they are mobile and quick and we have to adjust our game to adapt to that."




    The side received a setback early yesterday when PSV Eindhoven midfielder Jason Culina was withdrawn from the squad with an injured hamstring.


    However, the starting side will include seven players from the squad who reached the knock out stages of the World Cup, the remaining positions filled by other players looking to push their credentials in a competitive international.


    "One player we may look at is Ryan Griffiths, given the lack of left sided players we have in the country at the moment," he said indicating the Romanian based player may receive a call up.


    Despite the fact that the match may be viewed as a dead rubber by those at home, Arnold believes he will have no trouble motivating his side.


    "I'm expecting a typical Australian performance and I don't believe much extra motivation is needed when you put on the Australian jersey."


    Possible Australian line up: Mark Schwarzer, Scott Chipperfield, Michael Beauchamp, Ljubo Milicevic, Luke Wilkshire, Ryan Griffiths, Josip Skoko, Nick Ward, Ahmed Elrich, John Aloisi, Scott Mc Donald.


    The match will be played at 8.30pm on September 6 at Kuwait Stadium.


    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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