Australia’s World Cup qualification hopes in the balance after spirited draw with Denmark

Daniel Jeffrey Editor

By Daniel Jeffrey, Daniel Jeffrey is a Roar Editor

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    Australia must win their final group stage game and hope other results go their way to progress to the knockout rounds of the World Cup after a 1-1 draw with Denmark.

    It was a fine performance from the Socceroos, the side creating far more than in their last fixture, and while the result keeps their qualification hopes alive, it’s a case of an opportunity lost for Bert van Marwijk and his team.

    That was clear in the manager’s post-match interview. “The disappointment is that out of two games we should have four points. We deserved it. We played very well,” van Marwijk said.

    “They were afraid of us.”

    Much like in Australia’s opening game against France, it was their opponents who started the game the stronger of the two sides, Denmark making the first forays into the Socceroos’ area.

    Two early Christian Eriksen set-pieces were negotiated well enough, but the superstar Tottenham midfielder quickly showed he’s just as adept at finding the back of the net as he is delivering with a dead ball.

    With seven minutes gone, a poor Aaron Mooy defensive header – perhaps the outstanding Mooy’s only mistake of the match – was unable to clear the Danish danger, and the bouncing ball soon found Eriksen following a savvy touch from striker Nicolai Jorgensen.

    It was a tricky height, but the number ten made no mistake, rifling an immaculate volley past Mat Ryan before Australia’s keeper had the time to adequately react.

    Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring a goal for Denmark

    (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

    But the early goal spurred Bert van Marwijk’s side into action. With Denmark more willing to drop back and defend the lead – although they were far from negative, with only a sharp save from Ryan preventing a Trent Sainsbury own-goal – the Socceroos made attacking in-roads.

    Tom Rogic found himself on the ball far more frequently than against France, as did wingers Mathew Leckie and Robbie Kruse. The former of the two was immense throughout the match, putting in arguably his finest performance for the national side, while the latter faded as the game wore on.

    But despite that, Kasper Schmeichel remained untested, and a goal never looked truly likely until the match’s moment of controversy.

    Leckie rose highest to meet a Mooy corner, his header striking the raised arm of Yussef Poulsen. The contact was obvious but inadvertent and unintentional, the Danish winger having no time to pull his arm away. Despite initially waving play on, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz took just seconds to point to the spot after VAR’s intervention.

    Were it given against Australia, the uproar would be significant – it no doubt is in Denmark. Instead, it’s been seen as something of a much-deserved square-up following the decision which went against the side in the France match.

    Mile Jedinak, ever reliable from the spot, made no mistake for the second game in a row, and the half-time scores were level.

    Mile Jedinak celebrates after scoring for the Socceroos

    (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    Having opened up as the first half, the game continued to do so in the second, the Socceroos enjoying the bulk of the chances – although the Danes had their fair share too.

    But, forever a flaw of the side during the Ange Postecoglou era, Australia still lacks a lethal edge up front under van Marwijk. Mooy went close with a rasping long-range shot, Rogic forced a comfortable save from Schmeichel, and a rare positioning error from the keeper couldn’t be exploited thanks to a slightly errant Leckie cross.

    Daniel Arzani’s early introduction added some life to the attack, the youngster doing superbly on one occasion to fight his way into the box when he had no right to, and forcing a sharp save from Schmeichel with minutes left on another. Any hype around Arzani’s potential – and whether he should be given a starting role – will only grow following his excellent performance off the bench tonight.

    But Andrew Nabbout never really threatened, nor did his replacement, Tomi Juric, after Nabbout’s shoulder popped out and forced him from the field. Questions will be asked of van Marwijk’s preference for Juric over the unused Tim Cahill, who would have been more suited to capitalising on Australia’s plethora of crosses into the area.

    Denmark too could not make the most of their attacks. A late volley from Eriksen – who was largely peripheral after opening the scoring – flashed wide, and minutes earlier Thomas Delaney wasted an excellent run with a horribly wayward cross.

    They also had claims on a VAR-influenced penalty, or at the very least an inspection from the referee, after Andreas Cornelius was hauled down by Sainsbury on the corner of the box. Unlike in the first half, there was no intervention from the video assistants after play continued.

    Perhaps, then, a draw was the oft-cliched ‘fair result’. But it does leave the Socceroos’ qualification hopes hanging by a thread, van Marwijk requiring a win against Peru and for France to defeat Denmark (assuming Les Blues defeat Peru later tonight) next week to get his side to the last 16.

    Daniel Jeffrey
    Daniel Jeffrey

    Daniel is Editor of The Roar. You can catch him on Twitter @_d_jeffrey.

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    The Crowd Says (56)

    • Roar Guru

      June 21st 2018 @ 11:54pm
      AdelaideDocker said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:54pm | ! Report

      So the equation goes: we’ve have to win against Peru and Denmark must lose against France, right? Unless I’m missing something.

      • June 21st 2018 @ 11:59pm
        torchbearer said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

        Unless Peru beat France- then it is wiiide open

        • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:05am
          Kangas said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:05am | ! Report

          We need Peru to beat France

          Otherwise Denmark v France will conspire to draw and both go through

          • June 22nd 2018 @ 2:06am
            Dave Smith said | June 22nd 2018 @ 2:06am | ! Report

            Absolutely true. Just like Germany & Austria in 1978.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 22nd 2018 @ 6:13am
            Waz said | June 22nd 2018 @ 6:13am | ! Report

            I actually disagree with that. If Peru had of won they would have been really motivated for that last game, the fact they’re out is our best chance.

            France will be fearless as they’ve already qualifies and will want the win – they came here to win the tournament not limo out of the group.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 22nd 2018 @ 6:53am
            Waz said | June 22nd 2018 @ 6:53am | ! Report


            Just to disprove your theory, this from grazorblade over on 442:

            “dead rubbers from the last 3 world cups:


            Germany 3 Equador 0
            England 2 Switzerland 2
            Argentina 0 Netherlands 0
            Portrugal 2 mexico 1
            italy 2 czech 0
            Japan 1 Brazil 4
            spain 1 saudi 0


            Uruguay 1 mexico 0
            Argentina 2 greece 0
            Germany 1 Ghana 0
            netherlands 2 cameroon 1
            Brazil 0 Portrugal 0


            Brazil 4 cameroon 1
            netherlands 2 chile 0
            Columbia 4 japan 1
            Costa rica 0 England 0
            France 0 equador 0
            Argentina 3 Nigeria 2
            Germany 1 USA 0
            Belgium 1 SK 0

            So the group winner won 15 drew 5 when they were guaranteed progression. Top teams tend to improve as the tournament goes on and its easy to nick a result 1st or second game

            If we win we probably qualify”

            There’s a 3 to 1 chance the better side (France) will win 👍

          • Roar Rookie

            June 22nd 2018 @ 9:35am
            The Phantom Commissioner said | June 22nd 2018 @ 9:35am | ! Report

            This talk of France and Denmark playing for a draw is very wide of the mark, France have an eye on winning the whole thing so they will want to go into the last 16 in top form. If we beat Peru the pressure on Denmark will be huge, they may want to play out a draw but that’s a very dangerous game to play against France and the Danes have ridden their luck enough already at this World Cup.

      • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:06am
        Reverse Wheel said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:06am | ! Report

        If France draw with Peru and then lose to Denmark, and we beat Peru, does it come down to goal difference vs France, or head to head?

        • Roar Guru

          June 22nd 2018 @ 12:29am
          Rick Figjam said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:29am | ! Report

          Goal difference always trumps head to head. However, if goal difference is equal, head to head trumps. After that, maybe corner kicks. I can’t remember exactly.

          I think that’s right anyway.

          • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:30am
            Griffo said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:30am | ! Report

            Doesn’t goals scored cone into it also?

            • Roar Guru

              June 22nd 2018 @ 12:32am
              Rick Figjam said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:32am | ! Report

              I think you’re right. GD first, then goals scored, then head to head, then corners.

              • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:36am
                Griffo said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:36am | ! Report

                At what point do they draw lots?

              • Roar Guru

                June 22nd 2018 @ 12:47am
                Rick Figjam said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:47am | ! Report

                Not sure, but I reckon our pockets are deeper than Peru’s and Denmark.

                France would have us covered with all those chocolate croissants.

          • Roar Rookie

            June 22nd 2018 @ 6:09am
            Waz said | June 22nd 2018 @ 6:09am | ! Report

            It’s head to head on the final group placing. As we lost to France we can’t finish above them on Goal Difference.

            Not that it matters now with frances win over Peru.

      • Roar Guru

        June 22nd 2018 @ 12:26am
        Rick Figjam said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:26am | ! Report

        The ideal situation is for Peru to beat France. It forces France to play for the win against Denmark. It also forces Denmark to play in fear of a loss.

        We have to win regardless, but our goal against France may come back to haunt Denmark hopefully.

        However, if Denmark win, how sweet it would be to knock the Frogs out with a win against Peru.

        We’re still alive and playing well.

        • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:35am
          Griffo said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:35am | ! Report

          Spot on. That said, if France genuinely are a World Cup winning chance they’ll want to finish the group stage strongly even if they have already qualified. If we get a win against Peru and Denmark loses to France our goal difference will be equal or better. Having scored against France our goals scored could be better. We will have to see!

        • Roar Guru

          June 22nd 2018 @ 12:36am
          AdelaideDocker said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:36am | ! Report

          Oooh. So the very simple picture is: Peru beats France, and we beat Peru, then it doesn’t necessarily matter who wins the Denmark/France game because we should head through in second anyway. Of course, goals probably become important.

          • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:38am
            Griffo said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:38am | ! Report

            Or if Denmark and France draw the our Goal difference or goals scored needs to be better than France

      • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:36am
        Redondo said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:36am | ! Report

        We have to beat Peru no matter what. If Peru beat France then we can leapfrog whoever loses between France and Denmark. If they draw then we can still leapfrog France.

        We want Peru to win against France, hopefully by a few goals.

        • Roar Guru

          June 22nd 2018 @ 12:37am
          AdelaideDocker said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:37am | ! Report

          Cheers. I’m evidently not too good at all these result equations!

        • Roar Guru

          June 22nd 2018 @ 1:22am
          Griffo said | June 22nd 2018 @ 1:22am | ! Report

          Yep it’s as simple as we need to beat Peru.

          Any other result doesn’t matter for if we draw or lose.

      • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:49am
        13th Man said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:49am | ! Report

        It’s a bit confusing
        If France beats Peru:
        We need to beat Peru and France has to beat Denmark by enough for us to get in on goal difference.

        Pretty much the same but a Denmark win v France could still mean we go through at the expense of France as well provided we improve our goal difference against Peru.

        Peru beats France:
        Wide open, the two sides that win the third matches probably go through…

        So In reality we just need to focus on making sure we beat Peru.

    • June 21st 2018 @ 11:59pm
      Al said | June 21st 2018 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

      Matthew Leckie played on of the greatest games in an Australian shirt.

      • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:09am
        AGO74 said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:09am | ! Report

        He was excellent.

    • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:04am
      Kangas said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:04am | ! Report

      Well my plea for arzani to start , looks to be justified

      We need to Peru to beat France

      And why didn’t Cahill come on instead of Nabbout

      This Roos team is so much better then Postecoglou team , unfortunately didn’t get the win

      Leckie was terrific yet again

    • Columnist

      June 22nd 2018 @ 12:07am
      Geoff Parkes said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:07am | ! Report

      Really enjoyed that.
      Australia well up to this, stiff to be on 1 pt.
      Great to see them playing with such self-belief.

    • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:10am
      Craig said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:10am | ! Report

      1-1, bit like sleeping with a fatty. You’re not sure whether to be proud or disappointed.

    • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:15am
      AGO74 said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:15am | ! Report

      Besides a beautiful strike I don’t think I saw Christian Eriksen all night.

      Really proud but incredibly frustrated. Rogic is learning to play at this level. Back 4 is very comfortable and confident. Leckie was amazing. He is so confident with his runs on the ball.

      This is a confident team. They believe. They just need that something extra to get them over the line.

      • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:20am
        Kangas said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:20am | ! Report

        Australia is easily the best team that’s going to miss out on round of 16 .

      • June 22nd 2018 @ 12:43am
        Fadida said | June 22nd 2018 @ 12:43am | ! Report

        Voter’s on the BBC football site voted him Motm! Leckie got 6/10!!! If you don’t play EPL you don’t count

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