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Socceroos assistant coach Rene Meulensteen labels Aussies ‘world champions’ ahead of Argentina clash

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Socceroos assistant coach Rene Meulensteen insists Aussies are ‘world champions’ in an important aspect of the sport – and divulges how they’ll tackle Lionel Messi in Argentina clash

Assistant coach Rene Meulensteen has labelled the Socceroos ‘world champions’ on the subject of their never say die attitude.

Speaking on the talkSPORT podcast after Australia’s epic 1-0 win over Denmark which sealed a spot within the round of 16 on the World Cup, the Dutch manager explained how Graham Arnold’s men have held their very own in Qatar.

‘We began this journey 4 and a half years ago, and the main focus was all the time qualifying for the World Cup,’ Meulensteen said.

‘Arnie often spoke of his desire of making the best Socceroos team ever.

‘There was never any doubt [in my mind] we were going to the World Cup, although we did it the hard way.

Graham Arnold and assistant coach Rene Meulensteen (right) have guided the Socceroos to the round of 16 on the World Cup against all the percentages

Superstar Lionel Messi awaits on Sunday - but he isn't the sole player from Argentina the Socceroos will need to shut down

Superstar Lionel Messi awaits on Sunday – but he is not the only real player from Argentina the Socceroos might want to shut down

‘We’re the world champions on the subject of fighting spirit, mentality and togetherness….we’re a band of brothers.’

Plenty wrote off the Socceroos after they were handed a football lesson by reigning champions France of their Group D opener, losing 4-1.

Former Manchester United coach Meulensteen went onto reveal the playing group didn’t panic, they simply re-set and ready for Tunisia and Denmark.

History shows Arnold’s tactics were spot on, with Australia stunning their more illustrious opponents after a few gritty 1-0 wins.

It arrange a blockbuster date with Argentina this Sunday on the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.

Superstar Lionel Messi looms as the plain player the Socceroos might want to contain – but Meulensteen warned the South American giants have loads of threats on the pitch.

‘Other guys like (Angel) Di Maria we will probably be taking a look at, not only Messi,’ he added.

‘We respect them, but we do not fear them. ‘On the pitch it’s a 22-man fight, 11 versus 11. ‘We will probably be ready for them.’

Australia is paying a whopping $13 with the TAB to progress to the quarter-finals, with Argentina $1.18. 

Kick-off on the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium is from 6am on Sunday (AEDT).

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