The Socceroos remain alive at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ after coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Denmark in Samara on Thursday night.
In another rousing performance in Russia, the Socceroos recovered from falling behind inside seven minutes before showing great resolve to get back into the contest before half-time as skipper Mile Jedinak scored the equaliser via a penalty.
Australia dominated the second-half as they pushed for the winner that would blow Group C wide open but were unable to make their opportunities count.
It means the Socceroos will need to win their final match against Peru next week and hope other results go their way if they are to progress to the knockout phase.
The match started in dramatic fashion with the Danes, taking an early lead through their superstar Christian Eriksen.
A brilliant lay-off from Nikolai Jorgensen saw the Tottenham star blast a fantastic volley high into the net.
Australia eventually found their feet and hit-back eight minutes before the break from the penalty spot.
This time the VAR worked in the Socceroos’ favour, spotting a handball in the box, with Jedinak again making no mistake from the spot to level the scores and send the huge contingent of Aussie fans into raptures.
It was Jedinak’s third goal at a FIFA World Cup™ and was his 12th successful penalty in a row for the Socceroos.
It was end-to-end action in the second-half with the Socceroos creating most of the chances but were either wasteful in their finishing or found Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel in excellent form.
All focus now switches to Wednesday morning’s (midnight AEST) final group match against Peru in Sochi.
SOCCEROOS TEAM NEWS
Starting XI: Mathew Ryan; Joshua Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Aziz Behich; Mile Jedinak, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic; Mathew Leckie, Robbie Kruse, Andrew Nabbout
Substitutes: Daniel Arzani for Robbie Kruse (68’), Tom Juric for Andrew Nabbout (75’), Jackson Irvine for Tom Rogic (82’).
STORY OF THE GAME
2’ CHANCE FOR DENMARK – An early scare for the Socceroos as Pione Sisto’s cross found the head of midfielder Thomas Delaney, but he couldn’t hit the target from close range.
5’ SOCCEROOS GO CLOSE – The Socceroos quickly get into their stride and almost take the lead from a corner. Aaron Mooy’s pinpoint delivery is met by Mathew Leckie but he can’t keep his header down and it flies over the crossbar.
7’ ERIKSEN STRIKES – Australia fails to clear the initial danger with Nikolai Jorgensen getting the ball inside the box, flicking it into the path of Eriksen who volleyed powerfully past a stranded Mat Ryan.
24’ HUGE LET-OFF FOR SOCCEROOS – A sublime cross from the right by Henrik Dalsgaard is right into the danger zone in Australia’s box, with Jorgensen getting on the end of it but he somehow failed to hit the target.
30’ CHANCE FOR AUSTRALIA – Leckie mesmerised the Danish defence down the right with a jinking run, cutting the ball back to Robbie Kruse whose goal-bound shot was blocked by a defender.
37’ PENALTY TO SOCCEROOS – This time the VAR works in Australia’s favour as it spots a handball by Yussuf Poulsen after a header by Leckie. As he did against France, skipper Mile Jedinak made no mistake from the spot to draw Australia level seven minutes before the break.
HALF-TIME 1-1 – After a shaky start – and Trent Sainsbury almost turning the ball into his own net soon after Australia’s equaliser - the Socceroos head to the break all square thanks to the skipper’s excellent spot-kick.
54’ SOCCEROOS CHANCE – A flowing move from Australia ends with Aziz Behich whipping in a dangerous cross from the left, with a Danish defender just getting to it before Leckie was set to slam it in.
68’ AUSTRALIA INCREASE THE PRESSURE – Tom Rogic begins to find space in the middle of the park, while Leckie’s low ball across the face of goal is hacked away by Dalsgaard.
72’ CHANCES FOR SOCCEROOS – With his first touch after coming on, Daniel Arzani finds Mooy in space just outside the box and he lets rip with a thunderbolt which goes just over, before Rogic also tried his luck but Schmeichel was equal to it.
73’ INJURY FOR NABBOUT – An awkward fall from the striker results in Andrew Nabbout picking up a shoulder injury which forced him off, replaced by Tomi Juric.
88’ SCHEMICHEL DENIES AUSTRALIA TWICE – In quick succession, Schmeichel showed his class to keep out efforts from both Arzani and then Leckie soon after.