As Australia tackles one of the toughest tests in world football, Graham Arnold has banned his players and staff from dropping a very specific f-word — find out more and follow the match here.

What is fatigue? Army clothes.

Famous lines from the classic sports movie Remember the Titans, of course – but also those which can be overheard at the Socceroos’ Aspire training base if you manage to sneak past the mountain of security guards after one of coach Graham Arnold’s high-intensity sessions.

OK, that’s stretching the truth a touch, but in a bid to create a hard-edge to his squad, Arnold has banned the words ‘fatigue’ and ‘pain’ from his training compound – as well as ‘France’, this week, curiously enough – as Australia readies itself for a gruelling three games in 10 days.

“That’s why everyone’s here. 26 players, and with a short turnaround, you need players that are flexible, that can play in not just one position but two and three positions,” Arnold said when asked about the hectic schedule.

“It’s about just backing them up – I’ve banned the word ‘fatigue’, I’ve banned the word ‘pain’.

“This is a World Cup, there’s no such thing as that. How can you be tired after a game, or fatigued, or have a bit of pain or stiffness?

“Recover quickly, and get on with it. It’s all one step at a time and we’re just looking forward to tomorrow night.”

“I can’t give much away.”

It’s not just pain and fatigue that have been banned of course. So have the names of opposition teams and players – which started with France the past week, but will transition to Tunisia in the hours after Tuesday night’s game.

How do you prepare to take down Kylian Mbappe, one of the world’s most electric attacking weapons, without referring to him by name?

It’s simple, according to the wily Australian coach.

“His strengths, his speed, winger, cuts inside on his right foot, shoots … we need to have players there ready for that,” Arnold said.

“The players go and they get all the individual footage and all the analysis on that individual. We give that all to the individual to go and look at. I can remove the name; the players can’t. But it’s the way I present it. We’re playing against 10 blue shirts.”

Originally published as World Cup 2022: Australia v France live updates


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