Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has embraced FIFA’s decision to allow nations to name up to three additional players in their World Cup squads.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will name three extra players for World Cup duty following FIFA’s announcement of larger squads at the November 21-December 18 tournament in Qatar.
Since the 2022 World Cup in South Korea and Japan, each nation has been required to submit 23-man squads.
That will again be the minimum number of players each nation must name in their squads for Qatar 2022.
However, FIFA has announced countries can name up to 26 players for this year’s tournament “to retain additional flexibility due to the unique timing of the FIFA World Cup 2022” and the “disruptive effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic on squads before and during tournaments”.
Nations must submit their final squads of 23 to 26 players by November 13.
Preliminary squad lists, which usually number 35, have been increased to 55.
Arnold initially named a 29-man squad for this month’s World Cup playoffs before it was reduced to 28 following the withdrawal of star playmaker Tom Rogic for personal reasons.
The Socceroos coach said he would take full advantage of the new regulations by naming a 26-man World Cup squad.
Arnold revealed that up to four goalkeepers could be named in the larger squad, but he would still only name three.
He said his three additional players were likely to be made up of a central defender, a creative talent and a forward.
“That’ll give more of an opportunity to play a back three if we need to, bring someone that can pull a rabbit out of his hat if need be and take an extra striker because I like have to more plenty of types of No.9s,” Arnold said.
A 26-man squad will aid the Socceroos’ pre-tournament preparations, with a tight schedule meaning no warm-up games in Qatar against other nations before the Australians start their World Cup Group D campaign with a match against reigning world champions France on November 23 (AEST).
“There’s no time to have a friendly, but what we can have are great training sessions with 11-v-11 games. Previously, if you had two injured players, you’ve had to put two staff members into the game, which made it harder.” Arnold said.
“This time you’ll have the extra players there.”
The Socceroos’ only matches between now and the World Cup will be a two-match series against New Zealand during September’s FIFA international window.
“It’ll be the last opportunity for players to show me what they’ve got to give them a chance to get in that 26-man World Cup squad,” Arnold said.
“I never treat friendly games as friendly. They’re important games for development and to make sure the boys are doing what they need to do to understand the way we want to play.
“The series will also give the chance for the fans to say farewell to the boys before they go to the World Cup a couple of months later.”