Samara: Australia's defensive game against France was admirable but the Socceroos know nothing less than a drastically improved attacking performance will be enough to keep their 2018 World Cup campaign alive when they face Denmark on Thursday.
Midfield linchpin Aaron Mooy wants Australia to take the game to the Danes in Samara after failing to test France' goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from open play in their opening match of the tournament. Much of their compact strategy will remain the same, they will retain their 4-2-3-1 formation, but a few tweaks in what they do with the ball will likely be made.
That same game plan gives Mooy plenty of confidence heading into their must-win clash against Denmark but there is no hiding Australia's need to threaten more in attack.
"What we did against France, the game plan worked well. Maybe we need to attack a little bit more but it depends on the way the game is going. Hopefully we can create chances," Mooy said.
Trailing Denmark and France by three points already in the group, Australia must get a result against the Danes to have an real chance of progressing out of the group. A loss, coupled with a draw or win for France against Peru in the other game would ensure the Socceroos' final match of the group will be a dead-rubber from their perspective.
Mooy has described the match against Denmark as a "final" for the Socceroos.
"The next game is very, very important if we want to get out of the group. Obviously we need to get a result and we will definitely be trying to get one," Mooy said. "Every game at the World Cup is like a final."
Mooy singled out the threat of Denmark star Christian Eriksen as the danger man, having faced the Tottenham attacking midfielder in the English Premier League. Eriksen was far from his best against Peru on Saturday but still provided the assist for the only goal of the game that gave Denmark a vital win.
He carries the hopes of his country and showed why with his superb through ball for Youssef Poulsen's goal and only a collective effort will keep Eriksen quiet on Thursday night.
"Hes an excellent player. Hes had a great season. Hes probably Denmarks most danger player. We have to keep a close eye on him and try and stop the supply going into him. We have to do it all together collectively as a team," Mooy said.
Dominic Bossi is a football reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.
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