With the Socceroos facing a last chance saloon to make it to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Football Australia has opted to keep Graham Arnold as head coach rather than locking in a temporary solution.
The news comes despite the Australian team failing to auto-qualify for the tournament after losing to Japan and then Saudi Arabia in a dead rubber.
The Socceroos finished in third spot in Group B with four wins, three draws and three losses, missing out on a top two finish which would have earned the nation direct qualification to the World Cup.
The Socceroos now face a one-match play-off against the UAE in Doha on June 7. They must win that to progress to another play-off against the fifth ranked South American team which is Peru a week later.
Football Australia said it will continue to work closely with Arnold to ensure the Socceroos have the best possible preparation for the play-off stage.
“The Board of Football Australia believed it was important that we provided a stable environment and to get on with planning for the play-off phase given the very short turn-around,” Chair of Football Australia, Chris Nikou said.
“By confirming that Graham will remain Head Coach of the Socceroos until the completion of our World Cup campaign, it enables Graham, his support staff and the playing group to move forward with certainty, and without delay, to ensure the best possible preparation for the next phase of qualification.”
It’s been widely rumoured that the FA looked at alternative options but due to the short turnaround for the playoff in Doha decided to stick with Arnold.
Former Socceroos defender and Melbourne Victory coach Tony Popovic had been touted as a possible successor if Arnold was axed, a decision ex-internationals Luke Wilkshire and Archie Thompson both believe should have happened.
“Is he getting the best out of the players? I don’t know. I don’t think so,” Thompson told Network 10.
“It hasn’t worked and it’s not working still.”