Samara (Russia), June 20: Denmark and Australia will lock horns in a crunch Group C contest in which the European side will aim to register their second consecutive win and seal a knockout berth, while the other team will eye survival on Thursday. Australia vs Denmark start-time is 5.30 pm IST on June 21, 2018 at Samara Arena. Catch the live updates of the second match between Australia and Denmark here.
Denmark defeated Peru 1-0 in their opener against Peru, thnaks to a goal from Yussuf Poulsen, while Australia suffered a 1-2 defeat against the pre-tournament favourites France despite putting up an impressive defensive show.
Denmark's final group stage game is against France. Hence, they will be desperate to register a win against Australia, who will look to ensure that their fate will be decided in the third and final group stage against Peru.
Nobody really gave Australia much of a chance of qualifying from a Group C that contains France, Peru and their next opponents Denmark, and although Bert Van Marwijk's side gave a good account of themselves against the French, they ultimately ended up with nothing.
Now, Australia face an opponent that has not been beaten for 16 games and has not conceded a goal for five. The Australian midfield of Mile Jedinak and Aaron Mooy is solid, but they need to make something happen up front for the likes of Andrew Nabbout and Tom Rogic to finish the buil-up play. It will be interesting to see when 38-year-old Tim Cahill will come in to play.
In defence, Aziz Behich, Trent Sainsbury, Josh Risdon and Mark Milligan and starters. Denmark were unconvincing in their 1-0 win against Peru, but a win for the Danes in Samara will see them reach knockouts for the first time since 2002.
One of the worry for Denmark that they will be without midfielder William Kvist, who sustained fractured ribs in the first half against Peru. Ajax's Lasse Schone is expected to partner Werder Bremen's Thomas Delaney, who enjoyed an impressive 2017-18 season in the Bundesliga, in the midfield.
The defence also looks solid with a centre-back pairing of Andreas Bjelland, captain Simon Kjaer and Andreas Cristensen. In goal is Kasper Schmeichel, the son of Manchester United great Peter Schmeichel. The expected attacking options are Nicolai Jorgensen, Polusen, Celta Vigo's Pione Sisto and Christian Eriksen, with the latter tasked with creativity.
"We know he (Eriksen) is a fantastic player and obviously he's got a huge role to play for them," said Australia Mile Jedinak. "But we're not trying to focus on that. We'll definitely focus on them as whole and as a collective. We have to worry about ourselves as well, and how we're going to implement our style on them."
Denmark Probable Starting Lineup: Schmeichel; Larsen, Christensen, Kjaer, Dalsgaard; Schone, Delaney, Eriksen; Sisto, Jorgensen, Poulsen.
Australia Probable Starting Lineup: Ryan; Behich, Milligan, Sainsbury, Risdon; Mooy, Rogic, Jedinak, Kruse; Juric, Leckie.
Denmark vs Australia, 2018 FIFA World Cup Group C Match Prediction: Denmark 1-2 Australia. (Inputs from IANS).