Aussie coach Graham Arnold denies ‘arrogance’ after Socceroos slip to Asian Cup loss to Jordan in UAE

  • Holders fighting to avoid early exit after reaching last two finals
  • Opposition coach Vital Borkelmans reflecting Arnold’s pre-game comments were ‘unwise’
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 January, 2019, 11:44pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 January, 2019, 11:44pm

Australia’s coach denied treating Jordan with “arrogance” on Sunday after the AFC Asian Cup champions came unstuck 1-0 in a horror start to their title defence.

Graham Arnold had bullishly predicted victory for the Socceroos in their Group B opener, but he said his comments shouldn’t be interpreted as lacking respect.

“That’s a translation difference. It’s not arrogance, it’s belief,” he told a press conference, when the issue was raised by Jordanian media.

AFC Asian Cup 2019 fixtures and results of every match from the United Arab Emirates

“It’s not arrogance at all. Those words are used a lot in Australia and in Australia it’s not considered arrogant.”

Anas Bani-Yaseen’s first-half header proved the difference as Australia made their worst start in four visits to the Asian Cup, which they won for the first time in 2015.

It leaves Australia fighting to avoid an early exit at the Asian Cup. After their 2007 defeat in the quarter-finals – in Arnold’s first stint as coach – the Socceroos have reached the last two finals.

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Jordan’s coach Vital Borkelmans, whose fit and well drilled players carried out his tactics to perfection, said Arnold’s pre-match comments were unwise.

“It’s very, very dangerous to talk like this,” Borkelmans said. “I said many times to my players, guys, nobody knows.

“You saw it at the World Cup, big teams lost to small countries.”