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Graham Arnold wants to build football to compete with other codes in Australia

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Graham Arnold wants to build football to compete with other codes in Australia

On the verge of one of Australia’s most important games in football history, Graham Arnold is thinking about much more than just a result.

The Socceroos go up against Denmark in the final match day of the World Cup group stage.

A draw or better, with France beating Tunisia will be enough to secure Australia’s pathway to the round of 16 for the first time since 2016.

It would be a significant achievement for Graham Arnold’s men.

Credit: Xinhua / Alamy
Credit: Xinhua / Alamy

The 59-year-old has put a significant amount of faith in young players over his tenure since coaching the Olyroos before being placed as head coach of the national team.

A result against Denmark could leave a legacy similar to that of the 2006 team in Germany, where Australian kids grew up idolising footballers the likes of Tim Cahill, Mark Viduka, and Harry Kewell.

Arnold insists his purpose as a coach is to leave a platform for future generations to build upon, and help grow the sport in Australia.

He told reporters: “2006, and what that generation did, all the kids that grew up… that’s these kids (in this team), this generation.

“They were 10 years of age watching these guys do what they did in 2006. Those guys were their inspiration.

“When you sit around in the lunchroom now, this generation is talking about emulating the 2006 squad and achieving the same goals they saw when they were 10 years of age.

“It’s about putting the game on the map a bit more in Australia ... but there’s so much more work to do and to look at.”

Credit: REUTERS / Alamy
Credit: REUTERS / Alamy

For all intents and purposes, football is lower on the interest scale compared to other sporting codes such as NRL and AFL.

The 2006 generation of footballers' performances at the German World Cup did a significant amount in helping grow the sport ahead of the launch of the A-League.

It’s an influence Graham Arnold hopes he and his team can leave on the next generation.

A British reporter asked the Socceroos coach if a round of 16 qualification could mean kids would be idolising Aussie footballers rather than Shane Warne or Brad Fittler’.

Arnie replied: “That’s the whole purpose. My goal is to put a smile on the faces of Australians.

“If you’re not Australian and you don’t know, football in Australia is probably the fourth or fifth main sport.

“After AFL, rugby league, rugby union, cricket - then it’s football, they call it soccer. To leave a legacy is huge.”

The Socceroos go up against Denmark in the early hours of Thursday (December 1) morning local time.

A draw would secure their entry into the Round of 16 for the first time since the 2006 World Cup.

Featured Image Credit: Xinhua / Alamy. REUTERS / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, Football, Football World Cup

Jayden Collins
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