Australia predicted lineup vs Argentina - World Cup

Graham Arnold boasts the best win percentage of any permanent Australian men's manager
Graham Arnold boasts the best win percentage of any permanent Australian men's manager / Alex Grimm/GettyImages

Australia face Argentina on Saturday evening in the nation's first knockout game at a men's World Cup since 2006.

Graham Arnold was Guus Hiddink's assistant when the Socceroos bounced into the round of 16 16 years ago. That team, which narrowly lost to eventual champions Italy, is heralded as one of Australia's greatest sides but Arnold was carving out a new spot in the annals of history for the current vintage.

“It’s the first time ever an Australian team’s won two games at a World Cup, in a row, maybe we’re talking about a new golden generation,” Arnold said. “Because I’ve been listening and hearing about that golden generation of 2006, they got four points, and now we’ve got six, so maybe we’re talking about a new generation.”

Here's the XI Arnold may select from his glittering crop.

Australia predicted lineup vs Argentina (4-4-2)

Mathew Leckie
Mat Leckie became just the ninth Australian to score at a men's World Cup / Robert Cianflone/GettyImages

GK: Mat Ryan - If it goes to penalties, Ryan may be dragged off after the heroics performed by Andrew Redmayne. The reserve keeper came off the bench in Australia's play-off against Peru to reach Qatar, bamboozling the South Americans by dancing across his line like the characters from the children’s musical group, The Wiggles.

RB: Milos Degenek - The Croatian-born Serbian youth international chose to play senior football for "the country that has given me everything" after his parents emigrated while fleeing the Croatian war of independence.

CB: Harry Souttar - Arguably Australia's player of the group stage, Souttar has made one club appearance in 2022 after recovering from an ACL injury just in time for the tournament.

CB: Kye Rowles - On his final appearance for Hearts before the World Cup break, Rowles conceded a penalty and was sent off with one of the first VAR-assisted red cards in Scottish football. His time in Qatar has been far more serene.

LB: Aziz Behich - A big fan of Mark Morrison’s Return of the Mack, Behich has retained his place in Australia's World Cup squad after starting all three matches in Russia.

RM: Mat Leckie - Originally, the plan was for Leckie to become an Aussie rules footballer but his school persuaded his parents to usher Mat down the path of soccer.

CM: Jackson Irvine - Co-captain of FC St Pauli, a German club which shares his progressive and broadcasted views on LGBTQIA+ policies.

CM: Aaron Mooy - The 'Pasty Pirlo' has covered more ground than any other Australian player in Qatar this winter.

LM: Craig Goodwin - The Adelaide United skipper made his full international debut in 2013 but had to wait six years before he next started a match for the Socceroos. Only this year has Goodwin become a regular for the side.

ST: Mitchell Duke - A decade ago, while his upcoming opponent Lionel Messi was winning a fourth-consecutive Ballon d'Or, Duke worked part-time as a luggage handler at Sydney airport.

ST: Riley McGree - Charlotte FC made a €3m profit on the versatile McGree without giving him a single game.

Harry Symeou hosts Jack Gallagher and Toby Cudworth to look back on Germany '06 as part of the 'Our World Cup' series. We take a trip down memory lane - join us!

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