Will the early worm get the World Cup? The Socceroos are certainly hoping that will be the case as the first players touched down in Qatar nine days before their first match against the might of France.
The Scottish Premiership contingent were among the first to arrive, with Celtic‘s Aaron Mooy and Dundee United’s Aziz Behich touching down at Hamad International Airport in Doha on Monday, Australian time.
Aaron Mooy (left) and Aziz Behich (centre) were two of the first Socceroos to touch down in at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar on Monday morning, Australian time
Mooy and Behich board a train ready to settle into camp. They will be joined by the rest of the 26-man squad shortly
‘Just about to fly out of Sydney and looking forward to heading over to the World Cup,’ Redmayne said.
‘Can’t wait to catch up with the boys … come on the boys.’
The seven A-League players selected in Graham Arnold’s World Cup squad have come through unscathed from their last club games before the tournament.
Mathew Leckie, Jamie Maclaren, Redmayne, Kuol, Cummings, Danny Vukovic and Craig Goodwin all played one last match for their club sides after being unveiled among the 26-man squad on Tuesday.
Kuol made the most of his time on the pitch, scoring his first two goals of the season.
Socceroos squad for the 2022 World Cup
Mathew Leckie and Jamie Maclaren
Mat Ryan (C), Danny Vukovic, Andrew Redmayne
Nathaniel Atkinson, Aziz Behich, Fran Karacic, Joel King, Kye Rowles, Harry Souttar, Milos Degenek, Thomas Deng, Bailey Wright
Keanu Baccus, Cameron Devlin, Ajdin Hrustic, Jackson Irvine, Aaron Mooy, Riley McGree
Craig Goodwin, Martin Boyle, Jamie Maclaren, Awer Mabil, Mat Leckie, Garang Kuol, Mitchell Duke, Jason Cummings
Adelaide skipper Goodwin was instrumental in a 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory, converting a penalty and later setting up Ben Warland to seal the result.
Melbourne City pair Leckie and Maclaren combined to take down the Newcastle Jets 2-1, with Leckie named player of the match and Maclaren scoring the goal that sealed victory.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold previously said he believes Australia’s experiences in the Middle East in qualifying, early arrival and softer workload heading into the World Cup would have them in good stead.
‘Some of the bigger nations….their players have been getting pounded,’ Arnold told Fox Sports.
‘They’re playing on the weekends with their clubs – but (also) Champions League matches and plenty of midweek games.
‘[In comparison] a lot of our boys are playing one a game a week in the A-League.’
He took it a step further and said he expected Asian nations to produce an upset, with the Socceroos to get first chance when they take on defending champions France.
‘I’m hearing that some of the European nations or lot of nations are having a camp first in Europe and then coming over only three days before their first game,’ Arnold said.
‘But my experience is Qatar is different. The weather is a lot different. The stadiums, air-conditioned stadiums, are different and making sure you get that right is a big point.
‘…I think there will be quite a number of surprises at this World Cup and I can see the Asian nations doing well.
‘I think some of the bigger nations will find it very difficult and for us being an Asian nation, having the experiences of playing in many of the Middle East countries before we know what it’s like.’
The Socceroos will now settle into their state-of-the-art training base at the Aspire Academy in the Doha Sports City.
Socceroos legend Tim Cahill arranged the accommodation which features lush, modern facilities and access to world-leading gym and training facilities.
The facility includes an indoor multi-purpose arena with climate-control and the training pitches will also be used by Qatar and Ghana also using the base for their preparations.
Cahill is the chief sports officer of Aspire Academy and he has credited the facility with the dramatic improvement displayed by the host nation in recent years.
Pictured: The state-of-the-art Aspire Academy the Socceroos will call home for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar
Accommodation at Aspire Academy. There are plenty of workout facilities available for the Socceroos during their stay
The Socceroos kick off their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 campaign against defending champions France at Al Janoub Stadium on Tuesday, 22 November at 10pm local / Wednesday, 23 November 6am AEDT.
Socceroos World Cup schedule
Wednesday, November 23
Australia vs France, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, 6am (AEDT)
Saturday, November 26
Australia vs Tunisia, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, 9pm (AEDT)
Thursday, December 1
Australia vs Denmark, Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah, 2am (AEDT)