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Australian Football: Arnold defiant as Socceroos crash

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold says they will dust themselves down and get ready for the play-offs after blowing their chances of automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

Australia are priced at 500/1 to win the World Cup but will now have to win two play-off matches to book their place on the plane to Qatar.

Japan defeat

The Socceroos slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Japan in front of over 41,000 fans at Stadium Australia.

It means they will have to beat the UAE in a one-legged play-off and then the fifth-placed South America nation to make it to the World Cup.

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Arnold had to do without a host of star players for one reason or another but did not want to use that as an excuse after the game.

“We had a lot of key players out tonight. I don’t want to use excuses and I take responsibility for the results,” Arnold told reporters after the game. “It’s been a tough two years but some people don’t want to hear that.

“It’s always difficult (through the playoffs) to qualify for the World Cup. At the end of the day, we’ve got to brush ourselves off.”

Goal ruled out

The Socceroos succumbed to two late goals but the result would have been different had they not had a goal cruelly ruled out after just 25 minutes.

The Japanese scored an own-goal from a corner only for the referee to rule that Trent Sainsbury had fouled the goalkeeper.

“It was probably 50-50 but could have gone our way. We haven’t seemed to get many of those decisions our way in this campaign,” Arnold added.

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