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Anna Harrington

Arnold set to lead Socceroos to next WC

Graham Arnold is expected to sign a deal to remain as Socceroos coach until the 2026 World Cup. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Graham Arnold is set to re-sign as Socceroos coach through to the end of their 2026 World Cup campaign.

Football Australia will hold a press conference in Sydney on Monday afternoon with chief executive James Johnson and "one other" person, where Arnold's new four-year contract is expected to be announced.

A decision on whether the 59-year-old would continue as coach had always been up to Arnold, given Australia's stellar campaign at Qatar 2022, with little doubt FA would offer him a new contract.

The new contract completes an extraordinary turnaround in fortunes for Arnold, who was almost sacked in March and survived by the skin of his teeth as Australia's qualification campaign for the 2022 tournament stumbled.

The Socceroos finished third in their group and had to qualify via the play-offs rather than reaching the World Cup directly.

But while support elsewhere wavered, Arnold never lost the backing of his players, and that solidified after the brilliant World Cup campaign.

In Qatar, the Socceroos won two games at a World Cup for the first time and advanced to the round of 16 for only the second occasion.

They beat Tunisia and Denmark, with their only losses coming against champions Argentina in the round of 16 and runners-up France in the group stage.

"He's the main reason why we have such a good culture in the group," gun forward Mathew Leckie said in December.

"And although maybe over the last six months there was a lot of negative talk about if he's the right man for the job, I think he proved that and he deserves it."

FA had committed not to approach other candidates until they had an answer from Arnold.

He will be entrusted with taking forward a plethora of young talented players at his disposal, including the likes of Garang Kuol, Harry Souttar, Marco Tilio, Riley McGree and Keanu Baccus.

Arnold, who started the role after the 2018 World Cup, had been given time to consider his future after an arduous qualifying campaign and tournament.

That included spending time in hubs and hotel quarantine, while he also contracted COVID-19 twice.

Arnold's agent Tony Rallis told News Corp discussions were "going well" but wouldn't confirm the deal had been signed off.

The 2026 World Cup, to take place in Canada, Mexico and the United States, will be expanded to 48 teams.

But Arnold's first test will come at June's Asian Cup in Qatar, when he will eye redemption for a quarter-final exit in 2019.

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