The discontent surrounding Australia’s ailing World Cup qualifying campaign is increasing, with former Socceroos goalkeeper Mark Bosnich suggesting it’s time to replace Graham Arnold as coach.
The Socceroos’ draw with Oman earlier this week leaves them facing an uphill battle to qualify for the Qatar World Cup, and needing to beat Japan at home and Saudi Arabia away in their final two games.
“You should not be drawing with Oman in an important World Cup qualifier, you should not be drawing with China in an important World Cup qualifier,” Bosnich said on SEN radio.
“Right now, we’re in big trouble in terms if we come third. If we come third my belief, and I’ve said this before, is that we will not qualify. This comes down to the manager. I have known Graham Arnold since I was 14 years of age, we have had good and bad moments.
“I had a crack at him after I heard him come out and say after they got one point out of six against Saudi Arabia and Japan that everything is going fine – no, it’s not Graham. And you always told me you had a plan B, plan C, plan D – it’s quite apparent that you don’t.
“I really do think that Football Australia have to have a serious think if we go into the playoff – is Graham Arnold is the right man to lead us into those playoff games?
“After what I have seen during the World Cup qualifiers, as well as the Asian Championships, the answer to that question right now in my opinion is no.
“You are accountable as the manager for your team’s performance. That’s the way it always has been.”
If the Socceroos finish third they face two rounds of playoffs to make the finals.
Bosnich added his voice to those believing football has lost its way in player development.
“We are producing completely robotic players,” he said.
Meanwhile former Socceroo Robbie Cornthwaite told SEN pressure was mounting on Arnold.
“There’s every chance they don’t go (to the World Cup),” Cornthwaite said.
“Everyone has come to expect the Socceroos at World Cups, they’ve made the last four and done it quite comfortably at times.
“The pressure is mounting on Graham Arnold because he’s very one dimensional in the way he plays football. He’s stuck with basically the same eleven players for nearly every single match.
“There was only one change from the mid-week game against Vietnam, you travel away to the Middle East to take on Oman, he only changed one player, and then in the post-game when they asked Graham Arnold what he thought of the game, he said he was disappointed with the physical qualities of his side.
“I just think, ‘Well, you haven’t really freshened things up, Arnie’. I think there was a couple of other changes you could have made.
“Ajdin Hrustic could have come in, (Jimmy) Jeggo, Craig Goodwin is obviously doing good things for Adelaide United, and Rhyan Grant was the big one at right-back. I thought for sure he would start, he didn’t, and the man who started in his place, Karacic, gave away the penalty in the dying stages when fatigue was playing a massive factor.
“Pressure is mounting on Arnie and I think he got this one wrong if I’m honest.
“Arnie’s all about fitness levels, get the ball in wide areas and transition moments. We have enough players with enough quality to be a little bit braver.
“At the moment, I think it’s a little bit directionless.”