Graham Arnold

Who is Graham Arnold, the Australian Head Coach at This Year’s World Cup?

Watching your favorite soccer team can be intense. The beautiful game is full of ups and downs. Now, imagine being one of the 32 Head Coaches at the Qatar World Cup.

Every selection, every facial expression and every movement you make is scrutinized by hawk-eyed fans and media personalities. This is the story of Graham Arnold, who’s tasked with the difficult job of leading Australia to soccer glory at this year’s World Cup in Qatar.


Graham Arnold’s Squad at the World Cup

The Australian 26-man squad playing in Qatar is already confirmed. Matt Ryan, who plays for Copenhagen FC, will be the main goalkeeper. He will have the support of Andrew Redmayne and Danny Vukovic.
In the outfield, Arnold has a stacked team of defenders, midfielders and strikers from the A-League, Europe and the MLS. Some of the notable names include Milos Degenek of the Mariners, Sunderland’s Bailey Wright and Celtic’s Aaron Mooy.

In his attacking line, Arnie is counting on A-League’s Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Craig Goodwin and Jason Cummings to provide the goals. Of course, they will have the help of some accomplished midfielders: Mooy, Riley McGree, and Ajdin Hrustic, to name a few.

Interestingly, Graham left out his son-in-law Trent Sainsbury. He defended the decision by saying his daughter’s husband has been out of form and it was only fair to give more deserving players a chance.

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Graham Arnold’s Football Tactics

Graham Arnold switches his team’s formation regularly. But he prefers to play an attacking style of football led by wingers. His most popular formation is 4, 2, 3, 1 but he also uses 4, 1, 4, 1 or 4, 5, 2 when he wants to be defensive.

In his first game at this year’s World Cup, a 1-4 loss to France, Arnie used a 4, 1, 4, 1 formation. Ryan was the keeper while Behich, Rowles, Souttar and Atkinson played in the back line.

Mooy was a defending midfielder, while McGree, Irvine, Goodwin and Leckie led the attacking midfield. Duke completed the lineup as a striker. Australia faces Tunisia and Denmark next in Group D.

Do you support Arnie’s lineup and formation? Maybe you do. Maybe you disagree with some selections. Create your own Australian national team squad using the squad builder on this interactive page. Choose your ideal formation and support the Socceroos in their bid to win the 2022 Qatar World Cup.


Graham Arnold: an Australian Football Legend

Born in Sydney in 1963, Graham Arnold is a 59-year-old Australian who now manages the country’s national soccer side—the socceroos. Graham is a former footballer who played for Sydney Croatia, a former soccer league in Australia.

He also played club football in the Netherlands for NAC Breda and Roda JC, in Belgium for RFC de Liege and R Charleroi S.C. and in Japan for Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Graham retired from club football after playing for Northern Spirit FC (now known as North West Sydney Spirit FC). At the international level, Graham represented Australia in 59 matches, scoring 19 goals. He retired from international football in 1987.

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A Celebrated A-League Manager

Before his appointment as the HC of the Socceroos, Graham Arnold was a celebrated A-League manager. He first joined Australia’s top-tier soccer league as a manager in 2010—accepting a temporary position as the manager of the Central Coast Mariners.

Graham managed the Mariners for three seasons, finishing in the top two positions every season. He also won a championship and premiership title for the club.

After success with the Mariners, Graham had a brief stint in Japan. But his involvement with Vegalta Sendai of the J1 League ended after just one season. He returned to Sydney in 2014 and led Sydney FC to the A-League Grand Final.
In the 2016-17 season, Graham had an impeccable run in which he led Sydney to a premiership and championship title. He also won the premiership again in the 2017-18 season, an accolade that earned him the Socceroos’ HC job.

Arnold’s contract is set to end after Australia’s run in the World Cup this year.


Journey to the 2022 World Cup

Australia’s journey to Qatar has been rather challenging. So, challenging was the team’s qualifying attempt that some Socceroos’ fans wanted Graham gone before the Word Cup started.

The Socceroos had won 11 consecutive matches in an attempt to clinch an automatic qualification spot for the World Cup. But then they met stronger teams and their winning streak was snapped.

The Socceroos finished third in their qualifying group, behind Saudi Arabia and Japan. This meant they had to go through a play-off round that involved teams like the UAE and Peru.

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Although they defeated UAE comfortably, it was Graham’s masterstroke decision to change keepers in a penalty shootout against Peru that helped the team qualify for the World Cup.


Graham Arnold’s Family and Salary

Graham Arnold is a family man, married to camera shy Sarah Arnold. Together, they have three kids: Kristie, Elissa and Danielle. Elissa is married to Qatar-based footballer Trent Sainsbury as we mentioned earlier.
As a successful Head Coach, Arnold is paid what he’s worth. He earns an estimated $1.3 million per year, making him the 12th highest paid Head Coach at the Qatar World Cup.


Arnold’s Previous Involvement with the Socceroos

Graham Arnold has had an illustrious career working for the Socceroos. He first got involved with the national side in 2000 as an assistant coach. He became the HC in 2006 and led the Socceroos during the 2007 Asian Cup Campaign.
In 2008, Graham dropped from the HC job to lead the under 23’s national side. But in 2010, he served as an assistant coach for the national team during the World Cup in South Africa.

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