Socceroos coach gambles but can't lose

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has gambled. But what did he have to lose?

Arnold will play his joker, Jason Cummings. And what he hopes is his ace, Garang Kuol.

He's mining some largely untouched diamonds - 10 of 26 players in his World Cup squad have five or fewer international caps.

And he's betting on the hearts of an injured handful to overcome their ailments.

Will they repay him in spades in Qatar? Or will he join the club of Australian managers failing to advance from the group?

Arnold says without risk, there's no reward.

"Mate, it is a risk," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"And I have always taken risks as the coach to be successful and this is no different."

The stakes are at their highest. But realistically, Arnold can't lose.

Even the most ardent Socceroos fans are pessimistic about advancing to the knockout stage after playing defending champions France, Denmark and Tunisia.

Cummings, the ever-smiling practical joker from Central Coast with one international cap, is among three strikers.

Scottish-based duo Keanu Baccus and Cameron Devlin, also with one cap each, were also in when Arnold cut his playing cards.

"They bring a heap of energy and enjoyment into the camp ... that is important," Arnold said of the trio.

Central defenders Kye Rowles, only returning on deck last week after a foot injury, and Harry Souttar, in action three weeks after a knee reconstruction, are on the tables.

"I know what they can do, I know what their mentality is, I know how their brain works," Arnold said.

"And they're the type of people, if you put them in a boxing ring and they have had no preparation, they would still go in there and do a great job."

Midfield playmaker Ajdin Hrustic and fleet-footed winger Martin Boyle will arrive in Qatar carrying ankle and knee injuries respectively.

"It gets down to that belief and trust ... and their mentality is so strong," Arnold said.

And 18-year-old Kuol, another with one international cap, will be chucked on the table with the simplest of instructions.

"It's like backyard football, where I say just go out there and enjoy yourself son," Arnold said.

"Go and show us what you can do, show the world what you can do."