Socceroos assistant coach Rene Meulensteen has tested positive to coronavirus and won't be travelling to Qatar for the World Cup qualifier against China.
Socceroos coach Graham Arnold is without two assistants because of coronavirus complications ahead of their looming World Cup qualifier against China.
Assistant coach Rene Meulensteen has tested positive to coronavirus and was barred from travelling to Qatar to join the Socceroos squad.
Meulensteen, who is fully vaccinated, is asymptomatic but returned a positive test in London last week.
Another assistant, Tony Vidmar, opted against making the trip to Qatar for the Socceroos' qualifier against China which kicks off early Friday morning Australian time.
Vidmar was forced to double-quarantine after returning to Australia from the Tokyo Olympics - he spent 14-days in quarantine in Sydney and his home state South Australia required a further 14-day period on entering.
Arnold has summoned Joeys coach and national technical director Trevor Morgan to his panel for the game against China and next Tuesday's match against Vietnam in Hanoi.
But he said being without Meulensteen and Vidmar was "a blow" for the fixtures which commence the third phase of qualifying for next year's World Cup.
"It's a challenge but it is what it is," Arnold told reporters in a teleconference on Wednesday.
"Of course I have great trust in my staff everywhere ... but they're both working still for me, by remote, we are still communicating with each other and coming up with a game plan.
"But the only difference probably is that I'm doing everything on the ground here."
The Socceroos' squad were cleared by coronavirus tests on Monday afternoon after most arrived in Qatar the previous day.
The tight timeframes mean Arnold has just one light training session and a match-eve run to prepare his troops, who haven't played an international in Australia since late 2019.
"As a coach, my mindset is that it doesn't matter where we play," Arnold said.
"Of course I want to play in Australia, I want nothing more, and I really expect that we can do that in October.
"The mentality that I have built with this group of players is we go out every game, no matter where we play, expecting to win.
"If we have only got one training session, we have got one training session.
"If we had to go straight from the airport to the ground and play the game, I would still expect that they perform."