DOHA, Qatar -- Coach Graham Arnold made an impassioned plea to the Australian government for money and "a home" after his Socceroos exited the World Cup with a fighting 2-1 loss to Argentina in the last 16 on Saturday.
The Australians defied low expectations at home to reach the knockout rounds in Qatar for only the second time in their history.
They came up narrowly short against a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina, but Arnold's side gave one of the pre-tournament favorites several real frights in the closing moments.
The 59-year-old Arnold hopes this Australian team will inspire a future generation.
But he also said the government needs to do more if the Socceroos are to perform well again at future World Cups, starting with investment.
"There's an expectation that it should just happen every time," he said, adding: "We've got to look at Australian football."
"We need to spend money and get help from the government to put money into the game and help develop kids."
Arnold also wants somewhere that can be a centre for Australian football.
"The government need to build us a house," he said.
"We need a home, something that the government can help fund for the development of the national team and the good of Australian football."
Arnold, who could now step away from his post, was immensely proud of his players. They beat Denmark and Tunisia on the way to a surprise spot in the knockout phase.
But he was frustrated too after their defensive solidity deserted them against Argentina, especially for the second goal.
"I felt like we failed tonight because I wanted to win so bad," he said.
"The last 16 wasn't enough, I wanted more. I know a lot of people will be happy with it, but that's just the way I am."
© Agence France-Presse