Socceroos coach Arnold hopes for Argentina friendly
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold hopes a friendly match against Argentina in China can be locked in to give his charges the perfect test ahead of World Cup qualifiers and the Asian Cup.
Football Australia is in negotiations for a potential clash at Beijing's Bird's Nest Stadium in June, six months on from eventual champions Argentina ending Australia's World Cup run in the round of 16.
Arnold was this week at a post-World Cup coaches forum in Qatar, along with Argentina mentor Lionel Scaloni, before the Asian Cup draw.
He said he hadn't discussed the proposed friendly with Scaloni, but hoped it would be ticked off.
"It's not been confirmed yet. It hasn't been officially said to me that we are definitely playing them," Arnold told reporters.
"It'd be amazing. I just get goosebumps now thinking about it. If this game comes off, it'd just be fantastic to play against the world champions at the moment.
"There's no better way to test players than put them out against top opposition, because if you put them out against the lower opposition, well, then you're not learning too much about the players.
"So I want these tough games. I want to play against teams that are going to push us to the limit and we'll push them to the limit. Then when you get those good results, when you do well against those type of teams, that builds the belief and confidence in the players.
"That's what I truly believe: that all the boys going back to their clubs after the World Cup (are) all performing great and that's because they feel and believe they belong on that same field as those type of players now and probably, maybe before that they didn't.
"Those type of games are crucial to our preparation and making us get better."
Arnold relished some high praise from Scaloni in their reunion.
"He came over to me and just gave me a hug and said how much they appreciated the game against us," he said.
"He felt we were the hardest game for them at the World Cup but also, he loved the way we played and the players' attitude, the fight and the grit in our performance and he was very, very complimentary to us."
Arnold also spoke with England boss Gareth Southgate, who is anticipating a full house for their friendly against the Socceroos at Wembley in October.
"That cricket rivalry will come back with Australia versus England, the Ashes," Arnold said.
"And this will be a great opportunity for us on the football field to do the same."