Australia’s Stars Are Ready To Shine at Qatar 2022

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Graham Arnold will be getting his troops all fired up for a shot at grabbing the headlines at the FIFA World Cup finals in Qatar.

The 59-year-old Australia head coach will be confident of his Socceroos making an impact as he prepares for group games against Denmark, defending champions France and Tunisia.

The Socceroos met Denmark and France at the Russia 2018 tournament, so will be aiming to cause a sensation against familiar opponents this time. The Danes were held to a 1-1 stalemate four years ago, while France only scraped past Australia 2-1.

Tunisia may not even be there. They have been warned by FIFA that they could be kicked out of soccer’s showpiece if their government continues to intervene in footballing matters. Nigeria, as the highest ranked team in Africa not to qualify, could be thrown into the mix to replace Tunisia.

Garang Kuol is Australia’s wonderkid

The Socceroos, whose best showing at the World Cup finals by reaching the last 16 at Germany 2006, only qualified for their fifth tournament on the spin courtesy of tense play-off wins against the UAE and Peru. The Peru tie was decided by a penalty shootout success.

Peru dismissed Australia 2-0 at Russia 2018, which left the Socceroos rock bottom of the group. Tunisia, who didn’t qualify for the 2010 and 2014 finals, are expected to be the group’s whipping boys.

Denmark, who reached the Euro 2020 semi-finals, fell on penalties to runner-up Croatia four years ago and will arrive in the Middle East in formidable form.

France, in contrast, have been suffering both on and off the pitch. Patchy performances have seen some poor results while injuries mean the absence of midfield maestros N’Goto Kante and Paul Pogba.

France vs Australia Predictions

Australia will be eager to spring a surprise in their opening contest against France (a 6/1 shot to win the tournament). They are third favourites behind Brazil (4/1) and in-form Argentina (13/2). Check out the latest odds of teams to win Qatar 2022 and to top their respective groups with bet365 in Australia.

The Socceroos are generously priced at 14/1 to win Group D with France as overwhelming favourites (2/5) ahead of Denmark (11/4) and Tunisia (16/1).

However, the Socceroos do have a string of injury concerns with defender Kye Rowles and attacking midfielderAjdin Hrustic both unlikely to be fully fit to tackle France in the opening match.

The good news is that Arnold can call on the exciting talents of defensive trio Nathaniel Atkinson, Fran Karacic and Harry Souttar. They are looking close to being back to their best following injury.

Melbourne City’s hotshot striker Jamie Maclaren, who has been tearing apart A-League defences this term, will hope to be selected by Arnold who has recently favoured strikers Jason Cummings, Mitch Duke and Adam Taggart.

Midfielder Aaron Mooy has been a shining star in Scotland under Greek-born Australian head coach Ange Postecoglou at Celtic. He will be aiming to emulate his club displays on the international arena.

Mat Ryan, the 74-cap Socceroos skipper, may appear to be a safe pair of hands. However, the veteran has fallen down the pecking order at FC Copenhagen to play second fiddle to Polish shot-stopper Kamil Grabara.

Arnold appears to generally entrust Ryan between the posts, but Mitch Langerak recently came out of retirement to turn out for Japanese club Nagoya Grampus and will be vying to represent the Socceroos for the first time since 2017.

Yet the wily coach’s shock decision prior to the penalty shoot-out against Peru, bringing on Andrew Redmayne for Ryan, paid dividends when Redmayne made a decisive save to book another trip to the World Cup finals.

Whether Arnold can perform some similar results in Qatar with his tactics remains to be seen. Expectations are higher than usual despite the Socceroos only picking up a single point from their past two World Cup appearances.

Arnold’s goal, for Australia to net their first win in a dozen years on the sport’s biggest stage, is attainable and could propel the team into a force to be feared.

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