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Arnold clear to travel with Socceroos after negative test

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27th January, 2022
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Coach Graham Arnold is set to return to the Socceroos’ bench for their World Cup qualifier against Oman, after reportedly being cleared of COVID-19.

Arnold has tested negative on Friday morning, according to multiple reports, and will join the Socceroos on the plane to Oman for their next Qatar 2022 qualifier.

Arnold missed Australia’s 4-0 win against Vietnam on Thursday night after testing positive for coronavirus last week.

His quarantine period ended on Thursday but the Socceroos boss didn’t clear the required protocols to coach from the sidelines against the Vietnamese at AAMI Park in Melbourne.

The Australians were in contact wiith Arnold during the game, with assistant Rene Meulensteen in charge on the sideline.

The Socceroos used Zoom to communicate with their coach during the week and had a digital line to Arnold throughout the victory, including for his half-time talk and substitutions.

The Australians are set to travel to Muscat for the clash with Oman, which kicks off on Wednesday (3am AEDT).

Graham Arnold.

(Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

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“Obviously, we’re working hard behind the scenes to make sure that Arnie will be able to travel,” Meulensteen said after the Vietnam game.

“Although Arnie wasn’t able enough to join us physically in terms of team meetings and training and the game tonight, he’s been still a massive part in the preparation and getting the messaging across, the tactical messaging and everything else.

“He trusts us to make sure that we did everything on the ground. It was a very good preparation, although a challenge for all of us.

“But I think the proof was in the pudding, the performance.”

Australia will also welcome back suspended midfielder Ajdin Hrustic and defender Aziz Behich, who was unable to fly to Australia due to a blizzard in Turkey.

“It will be a completely different game, it’s a new challenge,” Meulensteen said.

“This is great. This is what we wanted. We wanted the three points (against Vietnam), we’ve got the three points. That’s gone.

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“Now it’s all about recovery and a reset and assess how everybody’s come out of this game.”

The win over Vietnam kept Australia in the hunt for an automatic qualification spot for Qatar, sitting third in their group behind Saudi Arabia and Japan.

© AAP

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