Australia coach Arnold wants ‘revenge’ over Messi’s Argentina

SYDNEY, Australia | Australia coach Graham Arnold (picture) said Tuesday he wants “revenge” over Lionel Messi’s Argentina when his side meet the world champions in a Beijing friendly next week.

Messi terrorised the Socceroos and scored a sublime goal in a 2-1 win in the last 16 at the World Cup in Qatar, before going on to lift the trophy.

But Arnold’s unfancied team gave Argentina a scare and the Australia coach said they will be taking the match on June 15 in the Chinese capital seriously, even if it is a friendly.

“I am getting goosebumps now that we can play the world champions so soon after the World Cup and get revenge,” Arnold said, as he named a young squad missing numerous established players through injury, including Celtic’s Aaron Mooy.

“Conditions will be humid and warm, but younger players have that energy and will run all day and fight.”

He added: “It is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to go out there and give it everything we’ve got – the boys will have energy galore and I can’t wait.”

Among those called up were 19-year-old Parma defender Alessandro Circati, who has represented Italy at youth level.

Arnold, who surpassed expectations in guiding Australia to the knockout rounds in Qatar, said that he already has one eye on qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

“I don’t feel there’s any better way to test them out than against the world champions,” he said of his youthful 23-man squad. – AFP