World Cup Preview: Australia v Peru

Who? Australia - Peru
Where? Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
When? June 26, 16:00 (CET local time)

Australia (Yossi Medina)

If someone thought a few months ago to tell the Australian squad that they may qualify for the round of 16, they will probably tell you that you are completely insane. Australia had a bad qualification campaign and only playoff wins against Syria and Honduras gave them the tickets to Russia. Now they only need to defeat Peru and hope that France will defeat Denmark in order to qualify.

It's been a while since Australia won against a South American team in an official match. It was in the 2001 Confederations Cup against Brazil. Since then, Australia keep failing against teams from South America in two World Cup games (Brazil in 2006 and Chile in 2014) and two more in the Confederations Cup (Argentina in 2005 and Chile in 2017).

Another thing that the Australians will look for is scoring from an open play. Their two goals in this tournament were scored by Mile Jedinak from the penalty spot. Moreover, their last goal in 2014 was also a penalty scored by Jedinak. It means that their last open play goal was actually the incredible volley kick of Tim Cahill against Netherlands.

No matter if Australia will qualify or not, winning against Peru could bring a massive support to the Australian football (even though they prefer to call it soccer). It can be the great finish for the World Cup campaign, with a hope for more success in the future.

Peru (Omri Tancman)

After Peru’s match against France, Peru lost any chance to qualify to the next stage. Peru’s goal for the game against Australia is mainly to hold the line and to give a positive performance. The task will not be easy when considering the history of Peru in last games in their previous performances in World Cups. Two of these most remembered games were in Spain 1982 and in Argentina 1978. In 1982 Peru lost 5-1 to the host Spain while in 1978 Peru lost 6-0 to Argentina.

This game is still remembered for bad reasons. Argentina had to beat Peru by a difference of at least 4 goals in order to proceed to the next stage. This game is still an open wound in the history of Peruvian soccer. According to the alleged claims, the result was fixed and in return Argentina was supposed to help Peru during operation Condor. The “deal” was that in return to Peru’s help during the match, Peru will send a few dissidents to Argentina which will get rid of them afterwards. These rumours were never confirmed and until today it remains as one of the most shameful moments of Peruvian football.

For Peruvians, those dark days are something everyone wishes to forget and nowadays the aim is to build for the future. As Peru’s Argentinian coach, Ricardo Gareca stated, “The events in this World Cup will help Peru grow”. In fact, when facing future challenges such as the Copa America 2019 and the World Cup of 2022, Peru has a young generation, boosted with experienced players such as Farfan and Guerrero. This squad is supposed to learn from the current experience and build on it for the future. A respectable performance against Australia can be a good start.

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World Cup Preview: Denmark v Australia

Who? Denmark - Australia
Where? Samara Arena, Samara
When? June 21, 14:00 (CET local time)


The Danish team began their World Cup with a win and now they are getting closer to qualify for the knockout stage. All they need to do is to win again, but it wouldn't be easy against the Australians.

After the match against Peru, Denmark need to get used to the fact that William Kvist will not return to play in the tournament. The player who will take his place in the lineup is the veteran Lasse Schöne, who always looks impressive and can play a major role in this match.

It's not the first time that Denmark plays against an AFC team. In 1998 they defeated Saudi Arabia 1:0. In 2010 they lost against Japan 1:3, a defeat that helped Japan to qualify for the next stage, while Denmark has been eliminated in the group stage.

Denmark will need to work hard in order to get the points. With the full confidence of the players and the coach Åge Hareide, Denmark is ready to do it for their fans and nation, all the way to first knockout stage appearance since 1998.


Nobody thought that Australia will defeat France, but the Socceroos made an impressive performance against one of the best teams in the World Cup. Even though their only goal was score by a penalty kick, Australia is optimistic before the next match.

The scorer of that goal, Mile Jedinak, reached an interesting mark as he is the second Australian to score in two World Cups. Jedinak's previous game made him also get two more milestones. With this goal, he got equaled to Graham Arnold in the 9th place of all-time top goalscorers of Australia. Moreover, he passed Toni Vidmar and he is ranked also in the 9th place of the most capped players in the team.

Another player that got some focus in the last days was Aziz Behich. The Australian left back got some bad news as FIFA decided to award the second French goal as an own goal by Behich instead of crediting it to Paul Pogba. Behich will need to avoid any thinking about it, as Australia will have to play with a strong defense in order to prevent any Danish chance for goal.

The Australian want to show that they are worth a place in the next stage. Winning against Denmark can be a great proof of that. Now they need to fight and dare to do anything to achieve that.

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World Cup Preview: France v Australia

Who? France - Australia
Where? Kazan Arena, Kazan
When? June 16, 12:00 (CET local time)


One of the tournament favorites is kicking off their campaign, wishing to end it with the second ever title. Their coach, Didier Deschamps,  has done it once in 1998 and wants to be part of this glory once again.

It was always a challenge for France to make the group of talented players to a team. Many remember the failure of Domenech in 2010, which ended with a completely horrible tournament. Deschamps succeeds in making the players a united group and the results are significant with a quarterfinals in the 2014 World Cup and finishing as runner-ups in Euro 2016.

Another challenge for the French team is the fact that many players are related to several tranfer rumors. Antoine Griezmann made a weird statement about his next season in Atletico Madrid, Thomas Lemar also have some issues with a possible transfer and many other players are on the usual headlines.

If these players could focus on the mission they have, France my be one of the best teams in tournament. In any other case, the French may find themselves struggling with players who don't to be part of this trip to Russia. That's where Deschamps will need to show his skills as the players' mentor in order to make them concentrate.


Australia made a long journey since the end of the qualification campaign. The Socceroos were one goalpost away from being eliminated in the Asian playoffs, but since then they had a complete change in the squad. The main one was in the manager position, when Ange Postecoglu resigned and replaced by Bert van Marwijk.

The Dutch coach made few changes in the squad and there is one player you can't miss. Daniel Arzani is the youngest player in the World Cup, born in January 1999. Arzani got his first senior call-up during the pre-World Cup preliminary squad. He impressed in both of his first two caps, including scoring a goal within a minute after he was substitute in.

Arzani will enjoy the guidance of one of the oldest players in tournament, Tim Cahill, which will be the first Australian to appear in four World Cup tournaments. Cahill is the last player left from 2006 World Cup squad, who made the best ever achievment for Australia, reaching the round of 16.

Australia knows that they are much weaker than the French team, but they hope that the spirit of their fans will follow them to Kazan. The Australian fans are well known as noisy and they will support their team until the final whistle.

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