SAMARA, Russia (Reuters) - France may have a glittering array of individual talent but Denmark are more of team, according to Australia coach Bert van Marwijk whose side take on the Danes in their second World Cup Group C match on Thursday.
Van Marwijk’s side lost to the French in their opening game, putting up a brave fight before ultimately falling to a 2-1 defeat that left them needing to avoid a second reverse if they are to maintain realistic hopes of staying in the tournament.
The Dutch coach, who was appointed in January only months after guiding Saudi Arabia through qualification for Russia, said Australia should expect to face a physical challenge when they take on the statuesque Danes.
And while they will not play against the same caliber of individual talent as they did against France, Denmark will be a more of a unit.
“The Danish they are a strong team, they are number 12 in the world rankings and that says enough,” Van Marwijk told reporters on Wednesday.
“They are a physically strong team, very tall players, that’s their weapon and we played against France and they have more quality and creativity in their players, but I think the Danish are maybe more a team.”
If Australia are to beat Denmark, they will have to find a way of breaching a defense that has kept five successive clean sheets and last conceded a goal 534 minutes ago.
There have been calls from Australian fans and pundits for Van Marwijk to introduce 38-year-old record scorer Tim Cahill, who was left on the bench for their defeat to France.
Daniel Arzani, the youngest player at the World Cup at 19, is also pushing to be included in the starting lineup after making a late cameo appearance off the bench in Australia’s opener.
Van Marwijk, however, was giving little away in a guarded news conference where he often gave brief responses to questions.
“I will not talk about changes or not changes, we analyzed the game very well,” he said.
“Denmark will be a very difficult team to play against, but we get more confident every day in the way we want to play and I think that is very important.
“Now we only have to look at the details, first we have to do exactly the same as we did in France, with all the discipline, and now we have to find in detail things where the Danish can have problems.”
Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Christian Radnedge