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25 Jun 2018

World Cup 2018: Australia vs Peru – Lineups, Preview & Prediction

World Cup 2018: Australia vs Peru – Lineups, Preview &
Prediction

Whilst Peru's time at the World Cup ends after this fixture, Australia's fate comes down to this final Group C match.

Jump To
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15:00 BST, Tuesday 26th June, Fisht Stadium (Sochi), ITV

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Last Time Out

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Australia Lineup

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Peru Lineup

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Key Battle: Mile Jedinak (Australia) vs Pedro Gallese (Peru)

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Talking Points

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Prediction: Australia 1-1 Peru

15:00 BST, Tuesday 26th June, Fisht Stadium (Sochi), ITV

On Tuesday afternoon, Australia and Peru will meet to conclude the fixtures in Group C of this summer's World Cup in Russia.

Peru and their fans waited 36 years to return to the World Cup but their stay in Russia won't last long following frustrating losses to Denmark and France. Australia, meanwhile, still have life after also losing to the French but rallying to draw the Danes.

That sets up a potentially dramatic Group C finale for both teams with the Peruvians looking to go out on a high note while honouring their throngs of fans who travelled to experience the nation's return to football's grandest stage. 

REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

In the process, Peru will try to keep Australia from reaching the knockout round for the first time since 2006.

For Australia to make it out of the group, they must beat Peru and hope Denmark - owners of four points - lose to France, who already secured a berth in the Round of 16, whilst also topping the Danish in goal difference and if needed total goals before resorting to further tiebreakers

Both have totalled two goals but Denmark are plus-one in goal difference whilst the Socceroos are minus-1 in that department.   

Last Time Out

Denmark 1-1 Australia

After VAR went against the Aussies in their 2-1 loss to France, technology was on their side versus Denmark on Thursday in Samara. 

Denmark jumped out to a 1-0 lead with Christian Eriksen's goal in the seventh minute but Australia didn't seem phased and levelled the match on 38 minutes when it was determined, through video review, that Mathew Leckie's header was deflected away via a deliberate handball from Denmark's Yussuf Poulsen.

As against France, and throughout his career, Mile Jedinak converted from the spot to make it 1-1.  

REUTERS/David Gray

Despite taking 14 shots with five on target and peppering Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel down the stretch, Australia left still looking for their first non-penalty goal in the tournament. However, they managed a point to keep their hopes of advancement alive.

On the downside, the Aussies will face Peru minus forward Andrew Nabbout, who suffered a dislocated shoulder Thursday and won't be available for this match.

France 1-0 Peru

Looking to bounce back after blowing several opportunities in a 1-0 loss to Denmark, Peru again had their chances against the mighty French side in Ekaterinburg also on Thursday.

Early on, Yoshimar Yotun dropped a deep ball too far, Christian Cueva had an attempt kicked away by France keeper Hugo Lloris on the half-hour and Pedro Aquino's shot early in the second half hit the post.

REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

However, it was 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe who provided the lone tally in the 38th minute to become the youngest French player to score a goal at the World Cup.

Despite playing in front of another feverish support system in Russia, Peru saw their winless World Cup streak reach eight games.  

Australia Lineup

Losing Nabbout now begs the question: Is it finally time for Tim Cahill?

It would make sense with a striker down but word remains that manager Bert van Marwijk still doesn't feel the 38-year-old Cahill, Australia's all-time leading World Cup scorer, is an option for the starting XI. That doesn't mean he won't play.

Instead, Jamie Maclaren could see his first action of the tournament. If not Maclaren, then Tomi Juric, who has come on as a substitute in the previous two matches, would be the man to start up front.

Whilst van Marwijk will make the change up top, the rest of his lineup should remain intact after using the same starting XI against France and Denmark.

Peru Lineup

At age 34, Paolo Guerrero is likely playing his last World Cup match regardless if Peru qualify in 2022. It's uncertain if midfielder Renato Tapia will be available after sitting out against France because of a concussion.

Ricardo Gareca has been consistent with his backline, but with nothing on the line could opt for a new look.

Key Battle: Mile Jedinak (Australia) vs Pedro Gallese (Peru)

This is more about one-vs-one than anything else and there's a good chance there will be a penalty kick in this contest. Because we're talking about Australia - and Jedinak.

Jedinak has converted penalties in each of the first two matches for the Socceroos' only goals of the tournament. The prospect seems good for another opportunity for the bearded one to come through after moving his tally to 16 for 16 on penalties against Denmark.

REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Dating to the 2014 tournament, Australia are the second team in World Cup history to score three straight goals off penalties - all by Jedinak. Ghana also did it over the 2006 and '10 tournaments.

If a penalty situation presents itself Tuesday, Gallese is expected to be the other man on the spot. REUTERS/Andrew Couldridge

He's made five saves in the tournament, including a point-blank stop with his knees on Antoine Griezmann and his hands against Lucas Hernandez on Thursday. There was nothing he could do on Mbappe's winner off a deflection, however. 

There's a real possibility it could come down to Jedinak versus Gallese to determine Australia's World Cup future. 

Talking Points

Not just about pride

Peru might be eliminated but that doesn't make Gareca's side any less dangerous. In fact, it's probably the opposite.

With no pressure and nothing but themselves - and their dedicated faithful watching from the seats - to play for, Peru can play loose, free and confident.

REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

Peru have come close to scoring too many times in the tournament and, without the need to press, they might finally break through.

That could present a major challenge for Australia who have much more on the line and far less room for error. 

How well van Marwijk can mentally prepare his team will be important, especially early on - a time when Peru have been aggressive through both of their games so far.

Can Australia score away from the spot?

Both of Australia's goals so far have come from the penalty spot.

That said, their gameplan tends to put themselves in a position to make the opposition make costly mistakes, especially in the box.

And with VAR in the picture, their chances of earning penalties for Jedinak to convert seem better than most. 

REUTERS/Michael Dalder

However, Peru should be aware of this fact and will do their best not to put themselves in a position to make those kinds of mistakes. 

Australia have a lot riding on this match and should be on the attack from the get-go. The question is whether they can break through?

Prediction: Australia 1-1 Peru

Peru might not be good enough to win but they should have enough talent and confidence to keep the Socceroos from doing the same.

The fan base should again be at a raucous pitch and that could motivate the squad to exit the tournament on a positive and thwart Australia's hope for advancement. 

The most passionate fans of this tournament should be rewarded with something.