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Socceroos will go for broke in Kuwait, says Arnold


Socceroos coach Graham Arnold declared he will pick the largest and strongest squad for the remainder of the FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign after the AFC announced the completion of Group B will take place in Kuwait.

Australia will complete their group qualifying phase in a centralised venue in Kuwait City from 31 May to 15 June.

The Socceroos lead the section at its halfway stage with maximum points from four matches against Kuwait, Jordan, Nepal and Chinese Taipei.

They have a two-point advantage over Kuwait and Jordan and a game in hand.

The hub will take place in an international window and will clash with the last rounds of the A-League premiership and the first phase of the finals.

Arnold, who is a former Central Coast Mariners and Sydney FC coach, said he would love to help the clubs at the pointy end of the season but it would be too risky to do so.

"We have to play four matches in 12 days in extreme conditions and frankly we cannot take any chances because although we lead the group we are not there yet," Arnold said.

"For this reason I will pick a big squad comprising the best 30 players and four goalkeepers.

"Besides, there are also ranking considerations to consider. If we lose just one game we lose points in the rankings system which could come back to bite us later on.

"For example, if Korea Republic slip up and have a loss we could go above them if we win our four matches.

"So, yes, the clubs might feel that perhaps I should release some players if we reach qualification with a game or two to spare but I just cannot afford to do it."

The AFC wanted the completion of Group B to take place in Australia but efforts from Football Australia and the NSW government to make this happen proved fruitless due to the hotel quarantine requirements surrounding the pandemic.

"The government worked very hard and we were very close but we could not get it over the line," an FA spokesman said. "Hopefully, we'll get the hub for the third phase of qualifying in September."

Source SBS The World Game