Thu, 30 Mar 2023

CANBERRA, Jan. 30 (Xinhua) -- Graham Arnold will continue as head coach of the Socceroos after signing a four-year contract extension.

Football Australia (FA) announced on Monday that Arnold has re-signed until the end of the next men's FIFA World Cup in 2026.

It comes after the Socceroos reached the knockout stage of the World Cup for just the second time in Qatar, losing 2-1 to eventual winners Argentina in the round of 16.

Following the team's elimination, FA indicated it would offer Arnold a new deal but gave the 59-year-old time to consider his options, which reportedly included offers from clubs in the Netherlands, England, Scotland and one other highly-ranked Asian team.

"I love Australia and I love Australian football, and nothing in football can ever match the elation, pride and sense of achievement I and the entire set-up felt in Qatar," Arnold said on Monday.

"I approach the next four years with a clean sheet, which is underpinned by a burning ambition to provide more opportunities to our leading emerging and established talent whilst challenging for major titles starting with the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar next year."

The new deal marks a major turnaround for Arnold, whose position was under significant pressure early in 2022 after failing to earn automatic qualification for the World Cup.

In addition to a new World Cup cycle, the four-year deal will also include the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, where the Socceroos are expected to make a deep run.

If he sees out the contract, Arnold will become the longest-tenured coach in Socceroos history and the first manager to lead the men's national team to two World Cups.

"What Graham and the entire squad achieved under the most challenging of circumstances during the last FIFA World Cup campaign was exceptional, and we are delighted that we have secured his services for a further four years," FA chair Chris Nikou said.

Of those who have coached Australia for more than 25 A International games, Arnold holds the second-best record (W29-D10-L13 in 52 games) ahead of Pim Verbeek, Holger Osieck, and Rale Rasic, according to FA.

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