Samara (Russia) (AFP) – Australia coach Bert van Marwijk said his team’s failing was finding the net in a testy press conference before a match against Denmark that the Socceroos must win to stay in the World Cup.
A heart-wrenching 2-1 opening defeat to France sealed by Aziz Behich’s own goal from a shot by Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba means Australia must beat the Danes to avoid limping home after the group stage.
Van Marwijk, who replaced Ange Postecoglou in January, has instilled much-needed discipline and improved defence into the Socceroos’ game.
But with Denmark second in the group following a 1-0 win over Peru, the Aussies need to increase their attacking output at Samara Arena on Wednesday to have any chance of staying in Russia.
Van Marwijk is highly respected in the game after leading the Netherlands to the 2010 final in South Africa.
But when it comes to media, the 65-year-old Dutchman has far less patience.
Asked for his opinion about the Danes, he said simply: “They are no 12 in the world rankings, that says enough.”
What about the threat of Christian Eriksen, the Danish midfielder who plays for Tottenham and scored 11 goals in qualifying?
“I know him,” said van Marwijk.
Persistence finally paid off as van Marwijk underlined the importance of having the same discipline against France, but with a sprinkling of creativity.
“Denmark will be a very difficult team to play against but we’re getting more confident every day in the way we want to play and I think that’s very important,” he said.
“First we have to do exactly what we did against France in terms of discipline, and now we have to look in detail where we can exploit Denmark.
“We had a few chances against France but maybe we have to have more against Denmark. Peru created a few chances against France, so that will be important.
“Everything we did, we have to do better.”
It took some pressing by one Dutch journalist for van Marwijk to finally pinpoint his team’s main failing: “Scoring. We have to play and create more chances.”
Behich, who plays for Bursaspor in Turkey’s top flight, said: “We know what we have to do tomorrow to stay in the competition.
“Against France we didn’t create a lot of clear cut chances… but our coaching staff have analysed them (Denmark) really well and showed us where we can open them up and which players we can get free.
“We’re going to be ready tomorrow and hopefully we can hit the back of the net.”
Australia have qualified for the last 16 only once, under Dutchman Guus Hiddink in 2006.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Spain star Putellas to miss Euro 2022 with knee injury
- Fantasy Premier League is live; Join our private league for 2022/23
- Euro ‘pressure a privilege’ for England captain Williamson
- Tudor promises Marseille fans he will deliver crowd-pleasing football
- PSG name ‘proud’ Galtier as new coach after sacking Pochettino
- Malacia becomes Ten Hag’s first signing at Man Utd
- Origi joins Italian champions Milan after Liverpool exit
- PSG appoint ‘proud’ Galtier as Pochettino departs
- Spurs new-boy Richarlison banned after flare celebration
- World Soccer Talk acquired by Playmaker