The music of rapper Drake, ABBA, and a healthy dose of new-and-old Australian rock have been giving the Socceroos a mental boost at this year’s World Cup, as the side prepares for Sunday morning’s do-or-die clash with Argentina.
While most of the attention on Australia’s preparations for this World Cup has focused on their fitness and onfield ability, music has also played a key role in Qatar – both for the players as individuals and as a team bonding exercise – encouraged by Socceroos officials.
After the team defeated Denmark 1-0 in Qatar, ensuring their progression to the knockout round, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said he encouraged the players to “have a laugh before you go to sleep, listen to popular music that you like … and that’s Australian music, and make yourself happy” as a post-game wind down. It’s something the players have taken to heart.
On Wednesday night, when cameras surrounded the elated players in their change rooms, they danced to ABBA’s Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) whirling towels and shirts above their heads before gathering in a huddle to sing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline.
According to Football Australia’s head of marketing, communications and corporate affairs, Peter Filopoulos, when the players listened to music together, go-to tracks were by iconic Australian rockers AC/DC, Men at Work and Cold Chisel.
“Essentially, the players play a playlist of Aussie classics before the game,” he said.
But the players also listen to their own tracks before matches, and gave this masthead a peek at their playlists.
Forward Jason Cummings gave Arnold his best John Travolta impersonation of Greased Lightnin’, later shared on social media, when Arnold called to say the striker had made the World Cup team.