Socceroos planning night to remember
AUSTRALIA coach Bert van Marwijk made it clear Monday that what happens 1600 kilometres away in Moscow doesn't matter if the Socceroos don't find a way to beat Peru on Tuesday night (AEST).
That being said, van Marwijk is hoping France wants to finish the group stage with a more appealing performance than its first two games. And doing so may in turn help out Australia in Sochi.
"They are proud players and they play two times. They won but they didn't play the way they can play and they are one of the best teams in the world," van Marwijk said.
"I think they want to prove it and show it to the whole world. But I have no influence on that. The thing I have influence on is the game against Peru."
Australia have qualified for the knockout stage of the World Cup only once and their chances of making a second trip to the round of 16 are slim.
Australia needs a win over Peru - preferably scoring more than one goal - and have France defeat Denmark when the games are played simultaneously on Tuesday night.
Even then, that may not be enough for the Socceroos depending on how all the tie-breakers play out. Australia played well, but fell 2-1 to France in their opener when technology didn't go in favour of the Aussies.
They controlled play against Denmark and probably deserved a victory, but had to settle for a 1-1 draw. And now anything short of a victory will send the Socceroos home with another disappointing World Cup.
The 2006 tournament is the only time Australia has advanced from the group stage and they haven't won a World Cup match since beating Serbia in the final game of the 2010 group stage.
That year, Australia faced a similar situation to now. They won their final game and got help with Germany beating Ghana, but the tie-breaker for the second spot out of the group went to the African team.
"If we don't go out and do the job we need to do against Peru then there's no point in thinking about that French game," Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan said.
"Any team in the World Cup, in France's situation, they want to finish top of the group, then I presume they'll need to go and win the game and if they have an idea to play for a draw it can be very dangerous. That's not my concern."
It was however during the press conference when a heartwarming revelation surrounding Ryan was brought to light.
After being asked about his family being in Russia for the World Cup, Ryan admitted he had paid for the strong family contingent to be there by his side.
Ryan vividly remembers the euphoria from 12 years ago when Australia made it out of the group stages for the first and only time.
"I for one am never going to forget those nights," Ryan said.
"Getting up and celebrating in Australia when we beat Japan and getting the results we needed to progress.
"And obviously the heartache that followed in the Italian game.
"It would mean the absolute world to me and show all the sacrifices and dedication all over the years to achieve something like that.
"It would have all paid off."
He also knows just how big the game against Peru can be and what it would mean for the players and the entire nation.
"If we're successful in achieving that, I dare say not only us as players but the whole nation of Australia is going to remember that night," he said.
"And that achievement, for the rest of their lives. Just as the team did back then in 2006 in Germany."
Australia are not expected to have forward Andrew Nabbout after he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the draw with Denmark.
That immediately led to speculation about Tim Cahill's role and whether the 38-year-old would get an opportunity to play in his fourth World Cup after not appearing in either of the first two matches.
Not in the mood to reveal anything about his line-up, van Marwijk said the only player for sure who would play was Ryan.
Ryan was a bit more effusive about what Cahill has added to the squad.
"He's still obviously an integral part and if Bert tomorrow thinks he's going to be playing an integral part to the game then he's going to be more than ready to like any other member," Ryan said.
- with AAP, AP