Denmark will be eyeing their second win of the 2018 World Cup on Thursday when they face Group C rivals Australia, who are yet to taste victory.
Players to watch:
All the talk in the build-up to the game has been about the playmaking talents of Tottenham star Christian Eriksen and whether Australia can stop him. The Dane is the main creator for the Scandinavians and could be instrumental as they aim to progress past the group phase.
Australia’s goal against France in their first game of the tournament was via Mile Jedinak’s boot, but their most influential player is central midfielder Aaron Mooy. The Huddersfield Town star often dictates the tempo of the game for the Socceroos and could prove to be a crucial player for them once again.
Team form and manager quotes:
Denmark come into the clash on a high after managing to grind out a 1-0 win over Peru in their World Cup opener on Saturday and they will be hoping to build momentum with another win, which would put them on six points at the top of the group. They are strong favourites to roll over the Aussies.
Key man Christian Eriksen made a positive start to his World Cup campaign by providing the assist against Peru that gave Yussuf Poulsen the chance to score the winner. He will be hoping to continue in the same vein.
“Against Mexico, Christian was initially followed by Herrera all the time, and they looked at him when he entered the spaces,” Denmark manager Age Hareide told the press when asked about the importance of Eriksen.
“We expect the same to happen to Australia. They want to guard Christian very much. So it’s important that we use him in the right way.”
Meanwhile, the Socceroos will be pinning their hopes of reaching the knockout phase on their next two games after losing against France 2-1 in the group opener.
However, history does not bode well for the men from Down Under. Australia have won only one of their last nine World Cup finals encounters against European opposition. They will no doubt require a big performance to topple the Danes, but they are a hard-working team and are never short on self-belief.
Asked about his team selection decisions ahead of the game, Socceroos manager Bert van Marwijk gave little away and told the press: “Every player in the squad is capable to start. Even Tim (Cahill) can start but he cannot play the whole game.”
Denmark could give Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen a start after he missed out against Peru due to injury, but William Kvist is out indefinitely after puncturing a lung in the game against Peru.
Australia have no new injury concerns but could opt to give Tomi Juric or Tim Cahill a start, after Andrew Nabbout got the nod against Les Bleus.