Socceroos fans react to major news about coach Graham Arnold

Aussie football fans have taken to social media in the wake of the major announcement about the Socceroos coach.

Graham Arnold has signed a four-year extension to remain Socceroos coach into the next World Cup. Pic: Getty
Graham Arnold has signed a four-year extension to remain Socceroos coach into the next World Cup. Pic: Getty

Football fans around Australia have taken to social media to express their reaction to news that Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has been granted a four-year extension that's set to see him lead the side at the next FIFA World Cup. The new deal represents a stunning turnaround for Arnold, who only 10 months ago appeared to be on the outer after an underwhelming World Cup qualifying campaign.

Having guided the Socceroos through the tricky sudden-death play-offs, Arnold then went on to lead the Aussie side in what turned out to be the most successful World Cup campaign in Socceroos history in Qatar. Arnold's men progressed to the knockout stages of the tournament after an unprecedented two wins in the group stage for the Aussies.

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They were then eliminated from the tournament by eventual winners Argentina after a heart-stopping 2-1 defeat in the round of 16. Given his side's incredible run at the World Cup, the decision on whether the 59-year-old would continue as coach had been up to Arnold, with little doubt Football Australia (FA) would offer him a new contract.

Arnold's contract is worth a reported $1.6 million and will run until the end of the 2026 World Cup. As well as coaching the senior men's national side, his role will also include mentoring Australia's other coaches at junior levels, providing support for talent identification and pathways, and working with FA “to ensure football – grassroots to the elite – has access to the best facilities and infrastructure”.

“In addition to success on the field over the next four years, I want to help deliver results for football in the form of bespoke infrastructure for our game across Australia,” Arnold said. “Football is the world game, where for a country of 26 million people, we certainly overachieve based upon the funding and investment our game receives.

“For our sport not to have a national home of football, and for the Socceroos to not receive any high-performance funding is something I want to support Football Australia to resolve over the next four years. As we saw, a successful FIFA World Cup campaign unites and inspires all Australians like nothing else does, and it is in the national interest to support both our senior national football teams”.

Arnold insists he has a "hunger to continue" in his role as national coach and Monday's confirmation that he's been given a four-year extension means the 59-year-old has the chance to become the first coach in Australian history to lead the Socceroos into consecutive World Cups.

"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."

Aussie fans react to Graham Arnold news

The overwhelming reaction from Aussie football fans to Arnold's contracts extension has been a positive one. While most agree that he deserved an extension after the Socceroos' most successful World Cup campaign ever, others argued that the four-year deal was a risky one.

Graham Arnold rewarded after incredible World Cup campaign

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. While support elsewhere wavered, Arnold never lost the backing of his players and that showed in a brilliant World Cup campaign highlighted by team spirit and solidarity.

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 - having also done so in 2006, when they were famously knocked out by a late Fransesco Totti penalty.

"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.

Seen here, a shattered Socceroos coach Graham Arnold thanks fans after his Aussie side is knocked out of the 2022 World Cup by Argentina in the round of 16.
A shattered Socceroos coach Graham Arnold thanks fans after his Aussie side is knocked out of the 2022 World Cup by Argentina in the round of 16. Pic: Getty

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.

with AAP

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