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20 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Australia’s Arzani on WC mission

AFP
Australia’s Arzani on WC mission
Australia’s forward Daniel Arzani attends a training session in Kazan on Thursday, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup football tournament. AFP PHOTO

AFP, KAZAN (Russia): Daniel Arzani was born in Iran and would not look out of place among the ‘Lions of Persia’ side that stunned Morocco in their World Cup opener.

Arzani’s heart was “pumping” with Aussie pride when he came off the bench to make his World Cup debut in a 2-1 defeat to France in Kazan, the tournament’s youngest player attributes his “cocky” reputation to hours of playing street football in his native Khorramabad.

“A lot of it,” Arzani said Monday when asked how street football helped forge a natural confidence that has given Australians another reason to believe ahead of a crucial match against Denmark on Thursday. Growing up playing in the streets you have to have that, or else you get eaten alive by the other boys.

“I think that’s where I get a lot of it from.”

Born in January 1999, Arzani was six years old when his family moved to Australia.

The rest -- dreaming of becoming a professional, coming through an Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) programme and signing for A-League side Melbourne City in 2016 -- is history.

Although “really happy” for his native Iran, Arzani wants to make his own mark, for Australia.

“Obviously when we left Iran it was because my parents wanted a better life for me and my brother,” said Arzani, whose maiden international goal, an impressive right-foot strike from the left edge of the area, came in a recent 2-1 friendly over Hungary.

“To be able to represent the country that helped us is special.” With slick dribbling skills and a keen eye for goal, Arzani is already being talked of as the next Harry Kewell, the former Leeds, Liverpool and Galatasaray front man whose Socceroos debut, at 17 years and seven months, came against Chile in April 1996.

But Australia great Tim Cahill has been among his biggest influences in the lead-up to Russia.

Unused against France, Cahill is hoping to become only the fourth player in history after Pele and German pair Uwe Seeler and Miroslav Klose to score in four consecutive World Cups.

At 38 and double Arzani’s age, the former Everton star’s other role could be just as important for the future of Australian football.

“I mentor them and I push them,” said Cahill.

Arzani calls it “tough love”, and for Cahill there’s nothing better to prepare for the big stage of World Cup games.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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