Graham Arnold wants the Socceroos to be ‘ruthless’ in World Cup qualifiers

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Socceroos coach Graham Arnold wants Australia to be “ruthless” on their qualification journey for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Australia have dominated across the pitch but have been short of goals since Arnold took over the national side after the 2018 World Cup. But as the Socceroos prepare to kickoff their World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualification round, Arnold said it’s time Australia got merciless in their approach. The Socceroos will play their first home qualifier in Canberra when they host Nepal on October 10. The Canberra clash will be the first time the Socceroos meet Nepal, who are the lowest-ranked nation of their qualifying group at world No.166. But Arnold is taking no chances and will field the “best squad available.” “It’s time these boys got ruthless,” Arnold said. “We’ve dominated so many games since I’ve been in charge and it’s time that we finished teams off. “It’ll be the strongest team available and we’re going into the qualifier to put in some great performances.” MORE CANBERRA SPORT Canberran Tom Rogic has returned to fitness after suffering an ankle injury in the Celtic’s Scottish Cup victory in May. The mid-fielder isn’t playing full matches yet while Celtic teammate Daniel Arzani is still coming back from a serious knee injury. Arnold has spent the last four weeks on a scouting mission in Europe and has met with about 27 potential squad members, including Canberra’s George Timotheou. The 22-year-old centre-back left German giants Schalke to join Belgium Pro-League outfit SV Zulte Waragem last month in a bid to play first grade. And the move hasn’t gone unnoticed. “He’s one to keep an eye on,” Arnold said. “We’re just trying to get there to be supportive of the boys, to see what physical condition they’re in but also mentally how they’re feeling. “It’s the first time they’ve had a proper pre-season in four years. They’re feeling refreshed, feeling great and looking forward to the campaign ahead.” The Socceroos will be playing with a point to prove after crashing out of the Asian Cup quarter-final to United Arab Emirates earlier this year. The 1-0 loss was the third time in five games the Socceroos failed to score at the tournament, a statistic Arnold’s side are ready to rectify. “Every time we’ve played an Asian opposition we’ve created a lot of chances but not scored against packed defences, who defend very deep,” Arnold said. “It’s a lesson that we’ve learnt. As coaches we’re always learning lessons, we’ve learned a few along the way and we’ll be ready for when it comes. “We’re coming up with some great combination plays and having more of our front players fit now will help with that.” Australia will send scouts to watch Nepal’s matches against Jordan and Chinese Taipei in September. Tickets for the Socceroos’ World Cup qualifier at Canberra Stadium go on sale to the general public on Thursday, August 15. SOCCEROOS WORLD CUP QUALIFIER Australia v Nepal: Thursday, October 10 at Canberra Stadium

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