Graham Arnold blames Iranian reporter for ‘ruining my day’ by ambushing him with a question about one of the darkest nights in Australian soccer
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has called out a Iranian reporter for ‘ruining his day’ after he recalled one of the darkest days for the code on Australian shores.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of Thursday’s clash with Denmark in Doha, the journalist asked if a win would help ease some of the pain after Terry Venables’ men blew a two-goal lead against the Persian Stars at the MCG on November 29 in 1997.
Iran scored twice in a matter of minutes in the second half for a 2-2 result on the night – and qualified for France 98 on away goals.
Arnold was a late substitute in that infamous game, and still cringes when he thinks of the night in question.
‘Thanks for ruining my day,’ Arnold joked.
Then Socceroos coach Terry Venables was a shattered man after Australia failed to qualify for the 1998 World Cup
Australia were 2-0 up, but two second-half goals saw Iran go through on away goals (pictured, Craig Moore, who was replaced by Arnold late in the contest)
‘That’s probably one of the worst moments in my football life, thank you.’
The Socceroos boss is determined to make his own history 25 years later, with no Aussie squad ever winning two group games at a World Cup.
In 2006, the ‘golden generation’, led by the likes of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Lucas Neill, beat Japan 3-1 in their opener before a 2-2 draw versus Croatia sealed a spot in the round of 16 against eventual champions Italy.
Arnold was the assistant coach back then in Germany, with Dutch maestro Guus Hiddink in charge.
He also confirmed he won’t be conservative versus the Danes, who need to win to qualify for the round of 16 at Australia’s expense.
‘I’ve never coached to play for a draw, it’s all about winning,’ Arnold said.
Socceroos boss Graham Arnold is determined to make his own history, with no Aussie squad ever winning two group games at a World Cup
‘Our ambition is to get two wins and have the most wins at a World Cup.’
Arnold later bristled at suggestions he was nervous, instead stating he was excited.
‘It’s not often you get to go to a World Cup, I’ve been saying to these boys to enjoy the journey and enjoy the ride,’ he said.
‘I feel really relaxed and ready.’
Kickoff at the Al Janoub Stadium is 2am on Thursday (AEDT).