It’s 2015 and I’m sitting on a lounge chair in the living room watching my nation’s team, the Socceroos, holding out to beat South Korea 2-1 to win the Asian Cup.
Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold has today rebuked rumours he was considering ditching the national side for a gig with Scottish Premier League side Hibernian.
In a brief media release issued by the FFA, Arnold dismissed whispers of his supposedly imminent shock departure, while reinforcing his strong commitment to both the Socceroos and the Australian U23 side.
“I am surprised to learn of the speculation,” Arnold said. “We have just started a great four-year journey with the Socceroos and the Australian U23 National Team.”
“I saw a lot of growth in our team and many individuals at the AFC Asian Cup and while we were disappointed not to go further in the competition I am extremely proud of our players and staff.
“I will be back in Australia soon and my full focus will be on the upcoming AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Cambodia in March, and following that our 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign and the AFC U23 Championship to be held in Thailand next January,” he added.
Arnold’s second stint as Australian national coach got off to a rocky start, with their Asian Cup title defence ending in the quarter-finals with a shock 1-0 loss to the UAE.
The Socceroos only finished second in their group, failing to score in three of the five matches they played at the tournament.
Arnold’s first stint as Socceroos coach was a short one. He was always going to have a tough time following in Guus Hiddink’s footsteps, but a disappointing quarter-final exit at the 2007 Asian Cup saw his goodwill exhausted as he was replaced by Pim Verbeek later that year.
The 55-year-old coach is currently on leave, with no upcoming Socceroos fixtures announced as of yet.