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Kuwait first up for Arnold's Australia

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By Reuters
Kuwait first up for Arnold's Australia
Australia's national soccer team head coach Graham Arnold walks on the pitch during a team practice session at the 2007 AFC Asian Cup tournament in Bangkok July 12, 2007. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom (THAILAND)   -   Copyright  Chaiwat Subprasom(Reuters)

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will begin the preparations for their Asian Cup defence with a friendly against Kuwait next month as new coach Graham Arnold looks to build on the work done at their just-concluded training camp in Turkey.

Arnold succeeded Dutchman Bert van Marwijk after the Socceroos were dumped out of the World Cup group phase.

The former national team striker, in his second stint in the job having led the side for a year after the 2006 World Cup, said the camp had focused on building an attacking-style of play as he looks to replace the retired Tim Cahill.

“The fresh faces in camp did exceptionally well, they added a lot of energy to the training sessions and plenty of enthusiasm,” he said of the five uncapped players he invited to the camp.

“We worked hard to add attacking layers to the strong defensive base the Socceroos had at this year’s World Cup.

“The players understand what we need to achieve and it was valuable to have the time with them in Turkey, without the pressure of a game, so I am confident that we will take further strides forward during the October window.”

The team will have another training camp in the United Arab Emirates before the match against Kuwait in Kuwait City on Oct. 15. They then face fellow Asian Cup finalists South Korea in Brisbane on Nov. 17 and Lebanon in Sydney three days later.

Kuwait did not qualify for the 2019 tournament, which is being hosted by the UAE.

Football Federation Australia have said the Lebanon match would be used to honour the 38-year-old Cahill, who called time on his international career after playing at his fourth World Cup in Russia.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)