Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has hit out at his vocal critics after Australia sealed just a third World Cup win in six tournament appearances, beating Tunisia 1-0.
Three days after a poor 4-1 defeat to reigning champions France, Arnold’s men delivered a gutsy performance matched by a hugely impressive tactical display, earning a first World cup clean sheet in 48 years.
The win means the Socceroos can reach the Round of 16 with a win – and potentially a draw – against Denmark in their third and final group stage match.
It was a statement victory for Arnold, who has polarised fans and experts throughout his four years in charge of the national team.
REPORT: DOHA DELIRIUM! 12-year hoodoo over as Roos cling on in Cup nailbiter
PLAYER RATINGS: Socceroos’ 1.98m beast’s epic display as EVERY Aussie shines
SCENARIOS: Socceroos path to Round of 16 revealed as EVERY scenario analysed
BLISTERING Duke header puts Roos up! | 00:35
ADORABLE: Socceroos star’s sweet moment melts the World Cup
‘I HAVE NO WORDS’: Socceroos hero in tears as WC reality hits home
FED SQUARE CHAOS: Insane scenes in Melbourne as fans go wild for Duke stunner
WTF? Bizarre World Cup moment after dodgy Tunisia act sparks Socceroos uproar
‘Keys to the country’: Australia loses it over ‘Superman’ Souttar’s clutch tackle
Arnold’s decision-making during the Socceroos’ crushing loss to France garnered significant criticism.
After Saturday night’s win, he hit back in simple and devastating fashion at whinging fans.
“Who cares? They’ve never coached,” Arnold declared.
Journalists pushed Arnold for a response to the criticism from Australian greats this week, including from ex-Socceroos Mark Bosnich, Craig Foster, and Zeljko Kalac.
“I haven’t seen who was critical. Some of them have never even been to a World Cup,” Arnold replied.
“I don’t listen to them. They have no effect on my life.”
Souttar’s superhuman effort saves Roos | 00:36
Arnold revealed his message to the players before the game was centred on making happy memories for the fans back home.
“The fans back at home, it’s a moment they’ll remember for the rest of their lives and I just wanted them to enjoy it.
“That’s what I said to the boys before the game: ‘Let’s put a smile on the nation’s face’.
“There’s one or two teams that can bring the nation together: Socceroos and the Matildas.
“When the Socceroos play at World Cups, AFL fans, rugby league fans, cricket fans … they become football fans.
“Imagine the celebrations that are going on at home?”
Duke FIRES UP over bizarre altercation | 00:39
Australia will anxiously await Sunday morning’s other Group D match between France and Denmark, which has implications on Australia’s hopes of reaching the Round of 16. Regardless of what happens, the Socceroos can secure their place in the elimination rounds with a win over Denmark on Thursday morning.
“We’ve got to see what the result is tonight, but nothing will change for us,” Arnold said.
“We will focus on ourselves, making sure we get ourselves right.”