Samara (Russia) (AFP) – Victory over Peru may come too late for Australia at this World Cup but Bert van Marwijk wants nothing less from his Socceroos in Sochi following the disappointment of their 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday.
Australia travelled to Samara needing a win after their unfortunate 2-1 defeat to France in their Group C opener in Kazan.
France have already qualified from Group C after beating Peru 1-0 on Thursday, meaning that the Australians’ hopes of progressing are slim but just about alive.
They need to beat Peru in the Black Sea resort on Tuesday and hope Denmark lose to France with enough of a goal swing to lift them above the Danes who currently have three more points and a two-goal margin over the Australians.
“For me it is only important that we beat Peru,” van Marwijk said after seeing Australia spurn second-half opportunities against the Danes to secure a first, crucial win of the tournament. “The rest, I have no influence over.”
That need was given extra impetus by Denmark’s 1-0 opening win over Peru, and after just seven minutes in Samara the Socceroos were on the ropes.
After a bright start, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen beat ‘keeper Mat Ryan with a fine half-volley.
– ‘We deserved more’ –
Australia captain Mile Jedinak, who hit their penalty against France, levelled on 38 minutes after a controversial Video Assistant Referee penalty decision when a cross into the Denmark area came off the arm of Yussuf Poulsen.
A determined Australia went on to produce a stirring second-half display that saw Huddersfield Town midfielder Aaron Mooy inch his drive off the post from a Daniel Arzani lay-off.
But then the 19-year-old Arzani, considered the future of Australian football, saw his late, angled strike blocked by Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in the dying minutes.
Van Marwijk was quick to offer praise after a performance that suggested there is far more to come from Australia in this tournament.
“I fully agree we should have won. Against France we also deserved more,” said the 65-year-old Dutchman who led the Netherlands to the cusp of World Cup glory in 2010 before defeat to Spain in the final.
“We have one point and we deserve four points from these two games. We had chances to win and we deserved to win, so I’m disappointed.”
Van Marwijk admitted he was still frustrated by the refereeing of Uruguayan Andres Cunha in the defeat to France, who scored an 81st minute winner when Paul Pogba’s shot came off Australia defender Aziz Behich.
He claimed France “should have a red card just before the 2-1”, adding: “I cannot understand that decision of the referee.”
But the Dutchman, who is sure to be without Urawa Reds striker Andrew Nabbout for Peru after he suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder, conceded Australia’s lack of goals was the crucial, missing piece of the puzzle.
“I must be satisfied about all the things we asked of them,” he said of Australia.
“From the first day the team has improved every day and they suprised me today again.
“You see the game today and the last part of the puzzle is that we must make the difference by scoring one goal more than the opponent.”