Hiddink says Australia fit and ready to fight as World Cup looms

Hiddink says Australia fit and ready to fight as World Cup looms

Legendary manager Guus Hiddink declared Australia “fresh” and ready to “fight” after seeing the team for the first time since being drafted in the build-up to the World Cup.

The experienced Dutchman, who ended Australia’s 32-year World Cup exile in 2006 and led them to the round of 16, is working alongside coach Graham Arnold for the friendly against New Zealand in Brisbane on Thursday.

Hiddink, 75, who also guided South Korea to the 2002 semifinals, said Arnold had done “a beautiful job” in qualifying for Qatar.

“They seem to be very fit and fresh, physically fit and mentally fresh. There is no doubt that Australians always have a fresh mind. They fight.”

The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and PSV Eindhoven manager is assisting in the absence of Arnold’s usual right-hand man, Rene Meulensteen, who is in Europe to scout two of Australia’s World Cup Group D opponents, France and Denmark. .

Hiddink urged Australia to “play football offensively”.

Arnold said his players had great respect for the Dutchman and would listen to what he had to say.

“The most important thing is that the mentality of the players is correct, they don’t see it as a party,” he said.

“Guus will send some strong messages to the players, today and tonight, about what he has achieved and what it takes to achieve success at a World Cup.”

Thursday’s game will be Australia’s last at home before the World Cup begins on November 20.

They will face New Zealand, who failed to qualify for Qatar, again in Auckland on Sunday.

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