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Last Updated: Sunday, 18 June 2006, 07:03 GMT 08:03 UK
Beating Brazil

By Jonathan Stevenson

Ronaldinho (left) and Harry Kewell
Could Kewell and co come out on top against Ronaldinho?

At 1700 BST on Sunday, Australia will play the biggest football match in the country's history.

The Socceroos come face to face with world champions Brazil in the Allianz Arena in a game that could decide their World Cup Group F fate.

But how does a country playing in just its second finals prepare for a tie with the five-time champions who are still favourites to retain their crown after winning their opening game against Croatia?

Australia assistant coach Graham Arnold explains.


How do you prepare them mentally? Well you don't have to motivate them because the players all know what is at stake.

Australia assistant coach Graham Arnold
We will not just be making up the numbers

Graham Arnold

I would say this is the biggest game in the history of Australian soccer - but then so is every game at this World Cup.

You must make sure the guys keep control of their excitement and their emotions, but otherwise let them go out and enjoy the game.

Normally if you can keep your emotions in check and enjoy it you can put more effort in and concentrate more on what you are supposed to be doing.

We are not turning up just to make up the numbers, I guarantee that. We've got players who can compete at this level and we're expecting them to do that.


When you talk about Cafu and Roberto Carlos you have to remember their ages - Cafu is 36 now and doesn't play all the time for AC Milan, while Carlos is only three years younger.

Brazil duo Cafu (left) and Roberto Carlos
Are Cafu and Roberto Carlos past their best?

They are both still great at going forward, we know that, but we think we have wide players who can hurt them in their half of the field.

We've got Scott Chipperfield and Brett Emerton on the wings and they have the pace and individual quality to make a real difference.

We will definitely be focusing in the build-up to the game on exposing the space behind Cafu and Carlos when they go forward.


We have to try to keep their better players off the ball but when you look at the top half of the field and Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Kaka and Adriano, it is difficult.

What we have to do is put pressure on the defence as soon as they get the ball so the service to the front men isn't as good as they would want.

When you look at Brazil play, Ronaldinho does most of his work coming in from the left-hand side.

You've got four defenders, two holding midfielders, two strikers and Ronaldinho and Kaka who play anywhere they like behind the front two, like two number 10s.

If Ronaldinho is drifting out to the left he'll come up against Emerton, and he has certainly got the pace and physical ability to keep up with the Brazilian.


You cannot afford to go out and try to defend against Brazil for 90 minutes, you have to play some football because you will come unstuck against their attacking players.

The strengths of our team are physical ability, athleticism and some great attacking players too.

We've got a proven goalscorer at international level in Mark Viduka and plenty of goals from midfield too, with Marco Bresciano and Emerton as well.

A lot of people seem to think we might be under-done because we haven't played at this level before.

But look at what some of the guys have achieved - Kewell in a Champions League final, Mark Schwarzer and Viduka have just played in a Uefa Cup final, so it isn't like they haven't experienced big games before.


This is a massive game, no doubt. But the Uruguay play-off games to get to the finals were too and if the players could perform in those I don't see why anyone should be daunted in the World Cup.

Their players know our players and I know that they all have huge respect for Guus Hiddink as a coach so they know we will come well-prepared.

We will be well-organised, tactically sound and right up for the game and that is the same for any Hiddink team.

Not only that but we have Johan Neeskens on the coaching staff as well so there is no shortage of experience - this is a guy who has scored in a World Cup final.

You are talking about one of the top 10 players of his era, a true legend - when we were in Vietnam with the Australia Under-23 side he got invited to lunch with the prime minister.

He adds fantastic experience and knowledge to the set-up and he has done a lot of scouting in Europe since he came on board.

Those two guys, myself and the rest of the coaching staff will make sure we do ourselves justice.

Viduka targeting upset of Brazil
16 Jun 06 |  Australia
Australia match reaction
17 Jun 06 |  Australia
Brazil match reaction
17 Jun 06 |  Brazil
Brazil team guide
22 May 06 |  Brazil
World Cup marks Socceroos revival
28 May 06 |  In Depth
Why are Brazil so good?
23 May 06 |  Brazil
World Cup warm-up games
25 May 06 |  Australia


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