Australia assistant coach Rene Meulensteen has questioned FIFA's scheduling of the FIFA World Cup, with the Socceroos now set to clash with Argentina in the round of 16 just three nights after they both sealed progression.
After negotiations with major European leagues on shifting the competition from its normal June and July slot to a November and December one -- forcing leagues to break in the middle of their season -- the tournament is running for 29 days in 2022 and also featured a shorter preparation period.
The 29 is down from the 32 days that made up Russia 2018 and Brazil 2014 and the 31 of South Africa 2010, Germany 2006, and South Korea and Japan in 2002. Global player's union FIFPRO released a report in November highlighting their concerns for player welfare and performance due to the congested calendar.
As a result of the congestion, both the Socceroos and Argentina will be forced to stage a rapid turnaround ahead of their round of 16 clash on December 3 at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium.
And Meulensteen, a former assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and now Graham Arnold's second-in-command, was perplexed after his side's 1-0 win over Denmark that secured their last-16 spot.
"The thing for me is, more than anything, how can a FIFA organization in such a high prestige tournament -- and there was always the four-day turnovers were already short -- so you go up through the group stages and they make it even shorter," Meulensteen said.
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"So if you want a high-quality performance, in a World Cup you think to yourself 'hey, could we've managed a slightly different?'
"It's also the same for [Argentina], I have to say that. But we've got almost no time, to basically let it all sink in, let [the players] enjoy.
"Its recovery, it's really getting their brains ready, [getting] them mentally ready again for that next challenge. But one thing I can tell you is, we will be ready."
Striker Mitch Duke was forced to come off in the 82nd minute of the win over the Danes due to fatigue, but was confident his side would be ready to go against Lionel Messi's side.
"Mate, I could play another match right now with the adrenaline that it's my system," Duke joked postmatch. "I think that the most important thing for us now is the recovery.
"The boys put in an absolute shift tonight. I was dead on my legs, I actually asked to come off because I couldn't move anymore.
"So, it's all about recovery and I back any boys that step on the pitch in that next match and I'm sure everyone will be available and ready."
Arnold was left revelling in his team's showing against Denmark, hailing them as a new "golden generation" in Australia following on from the historic team of 2006.
"I'm just so proud of the players, the work ethic, the commitment, the fight that they had and the way they played," Arnold, an assistant to coach Guus Hiddink in 2006, told reporters.
"I'm just so proud that we've been able to put smiles on people's faces, it's first time ever an Australian team has won two games in a row at the World Cup.
"Maybe we're talking about a new golden generation now, because we've been listening and hearing about the golden generation of 2006, who got four points and now we've got six."