France progress and send Peru packing as Group C edges closer to the knockout stages.

What Happened

Australia and Denmark clashed in Thursday’s opening match and after 10 minutes it looked a certainty that the Danes would be cruising to their second win of this World Cup courtesy of a sublime volley from Christian Eriksen. However, a Yussuf Poulsen handball in the penalty area resulted in the much-anticipated return of VAR, but this time as Australia’s ally. And of course Mile Jedinak did what Mile Jedinak does – he buried that penalty with no doubt into the back of the net. With the score level at 1-1, it was Australia who looked like the more likely to get the go-ahead goal but alas it was not to be as another Group C match went by with Australian fans dreaming of what could’ve been.

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France and Peru went toe-to-toe at the Ekaterinburg Arena and every single Peruvian knew that a loss to the French would have Peru saying au revoir to Russia. Kylian Mbappe tapped home the first and only goal of the match in the opening half to send France through to the Round of 16 where they very well could be facing Lionel Messi barring a catastrophic Argentinian implosion in their final group game. For Peru, they know now that they will only be playing for pride in their final group match against Australia with their door to the knockout stage officially slammed shut by France.

Stand Out Performers

  1. Mathew Leckie played the house down against Denmark, seriously – he was everywhere! He’s a man that just oozes confidence and he’s clearly feeling the good vibes right now.
    “I just felt like I had a lot of energy, I was dangerous on set-pieces and I felt good out there,” he said post-match.
  2. Pione Sisto was dangerous all throughout the match and had Australian defenders in all sorts late on as tired legs began to show.
  3. That Tom Rogic turn. Straight-up filthy.

Talking Points

France has achieved what was partially expected of them after two games with six points won and progression to the Round of 16 confirmed. They’ve not shown their full potential yet and at times look like a team just going through the motions. They will need to step it up when they come up against Denmark with knockout football looming.

Can we as a nation also please put to bed the myth that Tim Cahill is just going to stroll on the pitch and magically bang one home. The man is a bonafide legend of Australian football and there is no doubting that whatsoever, but it’s plain foolish to say Van Marwijk has got rocks in his head for not chucking Cahill on when Andrew Nabbout went off injured. Let it go.

What it Means

France is safely through along with Peru officially going on holiday after playing Australia next week. Denmark are in the front seat for the second Round of 16 spot, however, a loss to France will throw a spanner in the works. For Australia to progress they will have to beat Peru while hoping France win. Australia’s goal difference as it stands is -1, Denmark sits on +1. There are many mathematical scenarios that could go down here but as previously mentioned this is the constant – Australia needs to win and they need France to beat Denmark.

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Needs Work

Every nation in this group has looked shaky in the final third. For all Peru’s good they just can’t seem to put the ball in the back of the net and hell Australia are have been relying on dead-ball situations for to get them this far. Time to throw the shooting boots on fellas.

What’s Next

Group C will kickoff simultaneously at midnight Australian time with Craig Foster going wax lyrical about what the Socceroos will need to do from later stages of Tuesday night. Don’t miss it folks!

Goal of the Day

Denmark came racing out of the block last night largely thanks to a passage of pure class from the Danes finished which was finished off by their star midfielder, Eriksen. You don’t hit a volley any sweeter than that!

Miss of the Day

Take your pick really. Match-day 2 was full of near-misses from every side and a number of speculative 30-yard screamers that would’ve made every highlight reel in the world if they’d found the target. Unfortunately, someone has to be bestowed with this award so come on down Robbie Kruse. Kruse cops a lot of flack Australian supporters and some of this is fair and some are unwarranted attacks, but he should’ve done much more with a cutback pass from Leckie in the first half which he received basically on the penalty spot. Come on Robbie just put your bloody boot through it!

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Josh is in the final stages of a journalism degree at The University of Queensland and is also firmly aboard the Arzani hype-train.