After a first up loss, Australia enter their second Group C game against Denmark needing to avoid defeat in this game in order to keep their hopes of World Cup progression alive.
Thursday 21 June, 10:00pm, Samara Arena
Australia executed their game plan against France almost to perfection, with Paul Pogba/Aziz Behich getting the ball over the line by the smallest of margins for the game winning goal Saturday night. It was a goal greeted with more relief than celebration from the French while the as the Socceroos could not get back in the game. Denmark got things off to a successful start defeating Peru 1-0 thanks to Yussuf Poulsen’s finish on the hour mark.
These sides have met three times in the past 11 years with Denmark winning two of the meetings, starting with a 3-1 win in February 2007 with all of their goals coming in the first half. Australia won when they met in a pre-2010 World Cup warm up in South Africa with Joshua Kennedy’s goal enough for Australia to win there. Most recently it was Denmark winning 2-0 when the sides met in October 2012 in Copenhagen
The Socceroos have an interesting history with the second match of their group game, with a draw and three losses in their history but plenty of memorable moments. In 1974, West Germany trounced the Socceroos 3-0 while in 2-0 Brazil won when the two sides faced off in Munich which saw Harry Kewell teeing off on the referee after the game.
In 2010 Kewell was at the centre of attention again in what would be his last World Cup game, getting sent off for a first half handball on the line as the Socceroos drew with Ghana. Four years ago it was that memorable goal from Tim Cahill as the Socceroos briefly led the eventual semi-finalists before going down 3-2 for another one of those damn honourable losses.
Australia’s approach to game one could have easily been likened to boarding up your house and trying to endure the approaching cyclone without sustaining too much damage. Here they will have a bit more freedom to attack and the lineup will likely reflect that. Tomi Juric has been earmarked as Bert van Marwijk’s preferred option at front and he is likely to come in for Andrew Nabbout who was isolated against France.
It would not be surprising at all to see Massimo Luongo brought into the midfield, possibly at the expense of Tom Rogic. While the Socceroos will have a bit more room to attack in this game do not expect them to go all out and try to put five or six past Denmark in the first half hour. The Socceroos are well aware of what Denmark are capable of and will need to be on guard and wary of their threats.
Denmark have a very strong defence and whoever does start up front will have their work cut out for them. Not to mention Premier League winning keeper Kasper Schmeichel will be a tough nut to crack. Up front it is all about Christian Eriksen and how much freedom he has to pull the strings. If he is allowed time on the ball then it is Denmark’s game for the taking.
While Denmark are favoured to win this game, if Australia can produce a performance anywhere near what they did in the first game they will be in with a chance to win here. If they do get up it will be a tight affair however this side certainly has the capacity to trouble Denmark and at these odds they are worth backing in.
Back Australia to Win @ $4.33
World Cup Champion Tip: Australia 2-0
Play Now: World Cup Champion Free to Play Game