It all comes down to Tuesday night for the Socceroos in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They will face off against Peru in their 3rd and final group match to decide whether or not they can qualify for just their second knockout stage in World Cup history. The match kicks off at midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and we preview the clash and give our betting tips below.
When: Tuesday Midnight
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
It’s a must win game for the Socceroos in their final Group C match if they hope to qualify for the knockout stage. They currently sit three points adrift of Denmark, who have the difficult task of facing off against France on Tuesday night. Austrlalia will need to win their match against Peru while Denmark lose to France, and either match will need to come with a two-goal deficit for the Australians to advance straight through to the knockout stage.
If Australia win and Denmark lose, but both games are decided by just one goal, the two teams will have the same amount of points and the same goal difference in which the next tiebreaker will come down to total goals scored, which currently sits at two apiece. It’s definitely a tough road for the Aussies, but not one that is unachievable as France should be looking to play their best football to secure a win over Denmark, who can still take the number one spot in Group C with a win themselves.
After some early game jitters saw Denmark dominate the start of the game and claim a one-nil lead, the Australians were fantastic in the remainder of the game, equalising soon after and dominating the possession in the majority of the second half. Plenty of chances were created late in the game but the Aussies failed to capitalise and capture a win that would have certainly put them in the box seat to advance to the knockout stage.
A VAR hand-ball decision was once again the cause of Australia’s only goal, as Mile Jedinak scored his second goal of the tournament, putting away the penalty with ease. The midfield trio of Jedinak, Aaron Mooy and Tom Rogic outplayed their opponents and gave the Socceroos plenty of drive, it was just their creation and finishing up forward that lacked. Robbie Kruse was disappointing in his left-wing position and could see his starting spot for Tuesday night’s game go to 19-year-old Daniel Arzani, who came on in the 68th minute against Denmark and was one of the catalysts in the Australian late game domination.
France scored late in the first half of their game against Peru and never squandered the one goal lead. While they looked far from convingcing as they did in their game against Australia, another win sent them to 2-0-0 in the group and assured their road to the knockout stage with six points.
Peru had plenty of chances against the French, firing 10 shots and maintaining 56% possession, but ultimately couldn’t find the equaliser. Like Australia, they lack that creative spark in the forward line, and much of their game style is built around tough nosed defence and aggression at the ball. Peru are yet to score a goal in this World Cup, and the similar play style in the two teams should make for a bit of a stalemate in the game against the Aussies. While I think the Socceroos have the potential to win the game, I don’t expect it to be a high scoring affair.
Peru’s most notable name, Jefferson Farfan, is now 33 years old and has been coming off the bench in a similar role to the one that was expected of Aussie striker Tim Cahill. Cahill, however, has yet to play in the 2018 World Cup, with the Australian manager Bert van Marwijk opting for A-League star Andrew Nabbout in the starting line-up and the likes of Tom Juric and Arzani off the bench. It will be interesting to see if Juric is selected as the starter for this match, as Nabbout suffered a dislocated shoulder late in the game against Denmark. This could force an underdone Juric into the starting line-up with potential for Cahill to come of the bench.
Either way, Australia should be on the front foot early in this match as a win is vital. If they can bring the same intensity that they brought to the second half against Denmark, we think they will win this and let their destiny be decided by the France vs Denmark game.
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