World Cup

Denmark v Australia preview

Denmark will be eyeing a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup when they take on Australia in their second Group C game on Thursday.

The Danes beat Peru 1-0 on Saturday in a cagey opening game but will know that another three points at the Samara Arena will ensure their place in the top two and a spot in the knockout stages.

They will once again rely on talisman Christian Eriksen – who assisted Yussuf Poulsen’s winner on Saturday – and manager Age Hareide is backing him to shine.

“Christian is a player who can change matches, and we try to get him involved as much as we can,” he said.

“The opponents, they are going to be very cautious and careful about him, but he is used to that isn’t he from the Premier League.”

“We have seen in the Premier League that he can succeed nevertheless.”

“We hope that we will get him up to a good level and that he will be able to show good things at this World Cup.”

Although Australia lost 2-1 to France in their opening fixture, it took a late strike from Paul Pogba to defeat the Socceroos, who will be looking to register their first World Cup points.

And while France may have plenty of creative talent, Denmark will be a more cohesive team, Australia manager Bert Van Marwijk has said.

“They are a strong team, they are number 12 in the world rankings and that says enough,” Van Marwijk told reporters on Wednesday.

“They are a physically strong team, very tall players, that’s their weapon and we played against France and they have more quality and creativity in their players, but I think the Danish are maybe more of a team.”

Team news

There are a few injury concerns for Denmark. Andreas Christensen and William Kvist were both withdrawn due to injury against Peru, and while the Chelsea defender is likely to be fit to feature, Kvist will play no further part in the competition.

Australia have a full-strength squad and fans have been calling for top scorer Tim Cahill to feature against Denmark as he aims to join an elite club with four other players who have scored in four straight editions of the World Cup.

Daniel Arzani, the youngest player at the World Cup at 19, is also pushing to be included in the starting lineup after making a late cameo appearance off the bench in Australia’s opener.

Opta stats

This will be the fourth encounter between Denmark and Australia, their first at the World Cup. None of their previous fixtures – all friendlies – has ended in a draw (2 wins for Denmark, 1 for Australia).

Australia have lost seven of their nine World Cup encounters against European opposition (W1 D1), their only win coming against Serbia in 2010 (2-1).

Australia have lost each of their last four World Cup matches, conceding at least two goals in each game.

Only in their first-ever appearance in 1986 have Denmark won both of their opening two matches in a World Cup campaign.

Denmark kept a clean sheet in their opening match against Peru, but have never kept consecutive shutouts in the World Cup before.

Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has kept a clean sheet in each of his last five matches for Denmark, last conceding a goal 534 minutes ago vs the Republic of Ireland.

Christian Eriksen has had a hand in 17 goals in his last 14 appearances for Denmark (12 goals, 5 assists).

Mile Jedinak’s goal against France was his second for Australia in World Cup finals matches.

Only Tim Cahill (5) has scored more for the Socceroos in the competition (Brett Holman also two).





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