Daniel Arzani could play a key role for teh Socceroos against Peru.
Daniel Arzani could play a key role for teh Socceroos against Peru.

Reputations on line for last-chance Socceroos

IT all comes down to this. All the days and weeks of training, the intensity, the mental preparation, all come down to 90 minutes in Sochi.

History can be made, and reputations likewise.

The temptation is to charge out of the blocks against Peru on Tuesday night (midnight AEST), to try to sweep them away and score the goals that could send the Socceroos into the Round of 16.

 

But at training earlier this week Bert van Marwijk gathered his troops and told them the opposite.

They will win, he told them, if they stick to the game plan, that screed players cite like footballing scriptures.

But against what he termed an "emotional" opponent, abandoning the discipline shown so far and trying to "force things" would be the worst outcome.

"It's very important in all the games that you are yourself. I think against this opponent it's even more so," van Marwijk said.

"The opponent is an emotional team so you can expect everything. We have to trust our way of playing.

Australia's coach Bert van Marwijk (R) and midfielder Mile Jedinak talk tactics during training. Pic: AFP
Australia's coach Bert van Marwijk (R) and midfielder Mile Jedinak talk tactics during training. Pic: AFP

"I think that's the key, nothing to do with forcing some things. Forcing things is only in the second half, and it depends on how the situation is.

"I don't think you must (try to) force something from the beginning. We must first get our natural rhythm that we play.

"The first 15 minutes against Denmark was not good, the rest was good. We have to start the way we played after 15-20 minutes.

"That's very important, then you have to be yourself. Then you must have the body language that you have confidence and trust and that you are 100 per cent concentrated, that you know exactly what to do."

Australia switched off for just a second... but it allowed Christian Eriksen to strike. Pic: AAP
Australia switched off for just a second... but it allowed Christian Eriksen to strike. Pic: AAP

In a tactical sense, the players do know exactly what they must do.

So far they have shown a remarkable ability to carry out van Marwijk's instructions, and with more luck in the games against France and Denmark they could be far better placed.

As it is they must win, and hope Denmark lose to France.

Van Marwijk will keep track of the score in the other game, in case he needs to alter his tactics.

Should Denmark be losing 2-1, for instance, Australia would need to win by two goals.

As before, the team sheet will only be revealed on game day, though the odds are shortening on Tomi Juric replacing the injured Andrew Nabbout.

Tomi Juric is favoured to replace the injured Andrew Nabbout. Pic: AFP
Tomi Juric is favoured to replace the injured Andrew Nabbout. Pic: AFP

Van Marwijk is quietly confident, and won't listen to the idea - advanced by Mark Milligan - that his team might lack belief in itself at the start of games.

When coaches like Juan Carlos Osorio of Mexico offer unprompted praise for the Australian displays, van Marwijk thinks we should all listen.

"No, you must read the article of the Mexican coach, he's says something different. They watch our team and I think he was right," van Marwijk said.



Why this semi-rural oasis is a target for urban development

Premium Content Why this semi-rural oasis is a target for urban development

‘Under medium density housing you’re looking at townhouses which is highly...

St Vinnies braces for delayed COVID crisis in 2021

Premium Content St Vinnies braces for delayed COVID crisis in 2021

Stimulus packages earlier this year may have solved an immediate problem, but St...

Small businesses suffering because of unfair COVID rules

Premium Content Small businesses suffering because of unfair COVID rules

WITH just three weekends before Christmas, it’s time to give small retailers a...