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  • Rikki Lambert

Socceroos plot a Messi exit after vanquishing Danes

The Australian national men's football team has progress for the second time ever at the FIFA World Cup, defeating Denmark in a nailbiting match in Qatar.

The Socceroos were under siege in the opening minutes with Australia only needing a draw to progress - or so it was thought - but winless Denmark needing a win. The two group D matches were played - as is custom - simultaneously and both matches were locked at nil-all at half time.

With already-qualified France playing a second-string lineup against Tunisia, the north Africans went up in the 58th minute of the second half, changing the equation for Australia. It was unlikely the Socceroos side on-field were aware their odds had stacked up in the subsequent minutes. Denmark were caught pressing for a goal and Australia counter-attacked. Mathew Leckie blitzed past two defenders, beating the Danish goalkeeper inside the right post for a famous goal.

Australian eyes were nervously watching both scorelines, particularly the risk of a Danish equaliser. Goalkeeper and captain Mat Ryan, and central defender Harry Souttar stood tall yet again against the Danish barrage to keep another clean sheet.

The scores in both matches remained as they were, albeit France thought they had an equaliser in the 8th minute of extra time but it was disallowed.

The win by Graham Arnold's men means they face Argentina, who accounted for Poland 2-0 to top group C. Australia may draw some solace from Argentina's opening match loss to Saudi Arabia 2-0, the latter failing to progress after losing 2-1 to Mexico Thursday morning (Australian time).

The Socceroos will seek to emulate or better the effort of the 2006 Socceroos in Germany, who fell agonisingly short of going to penalties against Italy in the group of 16, eliminated 1-0.

The Socceroos had never registered successive victories at a World Cup nor kept successive clean sheets.


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