Wild scenes on a cold Wednesday morning in Melbourne once again showed the incredible power of the World Cup.
And why the Socceroos’ road to the knockout rounds is easier than you think, despite losing 4-1 to France.
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MOMENT OF AUSSIE FAN MADNESS WORLD FAMOUS
Anyone who says we’re not a football-loving nation needs to watch the scenes in Melbourne’s Federation Square on Wednesday morning.
A dense crowd of die-hard Socceroos filled the CBD meeting room before 6am and watched the game against France on the big screen.
And when Craig Goodwin scored his miracle goal to put Australia ahead of the reigning champions, chaos ensued.
In a word: limbs.
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SOCCEROOS’ WAY TO KO REMAINS
While Australia are certainly not favorites to make it out of Group D, Wednesday morning’s draw between Denmark and Tunisia ensures there is a chance.
At previous World Cups, the Socceroos were almost eliminated by the end of the first day – losing their opening game in 2010, 2014 and 2018, while the second group game also saw a winner, leaving the Aussies to 0 points and lifting two sides to 3.
Most notably in South Africa, the Socceroos’ 4-0 defeat by Germany shattered their goal difference, eventually causing them to miss out on second place in the tiebreak against Ghana.
But this time, after Australia’s toughest game should be out of the way, they are on 0 points but with the Danes and Tunisians on 1 each.
These opponents have always been the more likely contenders for Aussie points and if the Socceroos can achieve a win and a draw in their last two group games they have a real shot at finishing second to France.
Matchday 2: Australia beats Tunisia, France beats or draws Denmark
Matchday 3: Australia draws (or better) against Denmark, France beats Tunisia
Result: France 1st, Australia 2nd
Of course, Tunisia looked pretty dangerous against Denmark, so we’re not saying that the game against our North African rivals will be easy. But it’s the most victorious of the three and if Australia can’t beat Tunisia they don’t deserve to get out of the group anyway.
FRANCE DELIVERED ANOTHER CROSSING INJURY BLOW
France have suffered another injury setback as defender Lucas Hernandez was ruled out of the World Cup after tearing a cruciate ligament in the 4-1 win over Australia.
France coach Didier Deschamps said after the win that Hernandez’s knee injury “seemed pretty serious”, with the full extent of the injury being confirmed later on Wednesday afternoon.
The Deschamps men, who were the first team to retain their title since Brazil 1962, had ruled out Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Presnel Kimpembe before the tournament.
France had to come from behind for the Socceroos after Craig Goodwin’s opener in the ninth minute.
Olivier Giroud scored twice to level with Thierry Henry on France’s all-time goalscoring list, while Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe also joined in a 4-1 win.
“Even though we got caught at the start, we did everything right afterwards,” added Deschamps.
“In the second half we could have had an even bigger lead but we did a lot of good things.”