French 'friendly' perfect lesson: Arnold

Soon after their French failure, coach Graham Arnold called his Socceroos into a meeting room.

"Best friendly we could ever have," he told them.

He trained his eyes on Nathaniel Atkinson.

The World Cup debutant was downcast after being schooled by French maestro Kylian Mbappe in the 4-1 loss.

"I just said ... you're going to remember this for the rest of your life, mate," Arnold said.

"You're going to sit there in 20 years time when you retire, with a beer in your hand, telling everyone how you played against one of the best players in the world.

"And you're going to show them two mistakes but 10 things you did great.

"You have got to look at the positives and what that kid is going to learn out of it.

"It's these types of experiences that you have got to focus more on, to pick them up."

Arnold then screened a video of wild celebrations in Melbourne's Federation Square when Craig Goodwin scored to put Australia 1-0 up after nine minutes.

"The energy of the fans back at home when Goody scored, we miss out on that, we don't see that here," he said.

"That special moment will stay with those fans forever.

"Craig Goodwin is the seventh Australian ever to score a goal at a World Cup. Like, come on - seven. So let's be realistic."

But calling their World Cup opener a friendly was more mind game than realism.

"It's a two-game tournament now," Arnold said of the message.

"It was three games. But yes, we've got to win the next two.

"And there's no better opposition to play against in a so-called friendly than France, that are going to punish you for every small mistake the way they did.

"For me, the draw has been perfect. Playing France the first game is the best lesson you can learn straight away.

"And we will improve from that."

But can improvement come quick enough to deliver Australia, with a 2-15 win-loss record at the World Cup finals, a triumph?

"I haven't slept for a long time, wanting that too much," Arnold said.

"And it's not for me, it's for the nation ... there's nothing more that I want than to put a smile on Australian faces.

"It's not about me at all. If it was about me, I probably would have left ages ago."