Connect with us

AFP

Australia coach Covid-positive ahead of World Cup qualifier


Melbourne (AFP) – Australia’s build-up to a crunch World Cup qualifier this week suffered a setback Sunday when coach Graham Arnold tested positive for Covid-19 and was forced into isolation.

The Socceroos face Vietnam in Melbourne on Thursday with Arnold’s deputy, former Manchester United assistant coach Rene Meulensteen, taking the reins.

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said no one else in the set-up had failed a test so far.

“Graham and the Socceroos staff have sacrificed a lot over the past year to guide the team on a qualification campaign in the middle of a pandemic,” Johnson said, with Australia forced to play all their home games so far overseas.

“So it is extremely unfortunate that on the eve of this important home qualifying match Graham has returned his first positive Covid result.

“We are pleased that our thorough protocols picked up this result early so that the risk of infection to players and staff leading into match week was controlled.”

After falling out of the two automatic-qualifying positions in their Asian group with a loss and two draws in their past three games, the Socceroos cannot afford a slip-up against Vietnam.

Only the top two countries from each of the two groups will book an automatic ticket for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with the possibility of a fifth securing a spot through a play-off involving the third-placed teams.

Arnold said he had full faith in the players and his backroom staff.

“My staff and I have always planned that there could be a day that I might not be able to come to a match, so I believe with great planning and people in place, everything will run smoothly this week,” he said.

200+ Channels With Sports & News
  • Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
  • Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
  • Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
  • Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
  • Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
  • Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
  • Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
  • Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
  • Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
  • Price: $4.99/mo
  • Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
  • Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
  • Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
  • Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
  • Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in AFP

Translate »