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Qatar 2022 World Cup: Arnold ‘blocks out noise’ as Australia prepare for Saudi Arabia

Australia coach Graham Arnold said on Monday he had blocked out media speculation about his future after a 2-0 defeat by Japan last week ended their hopes of directly qualifying for the World Cup finals in Qatar.

Two late goals from substitute Kaoru Mitoma in Sydney on Thursday secured one of the two automatic qualifying spots in Group B for Japan and assured Saudi Arabia of the other.

Australia's path to the finals now lies through a playoff against the third-placed team in Group A -- the United Arab Emirates, Iraq or Syria - followed by another against the fifth-ranked nation in South America qualifying.

Arnold said he was used to dealing with criticism.

"I block out the noise and focus on the players and try to help them fulfil their dreams. It's about the players, not me," Arnold told reporters ahead of Tuesday's meeting with Saudi Arabia at King Abdullah Sports City.

"I know you guys have jobs to do but I don't read what is written. My wife has been hurt by it (the speculation), but it's part of the job. This is how it works at times.

"I've given my best and I'm giving my best to help these players... I'm focused on the game tomorrow. I had a tough week last week but part of it was my fault. Of course I want to be here or I wouldn't."

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