Socceroos’ World Cup round of 16 opponent revealed

Lionel Messi, look out for Australia.

The Socceroos are through to the second round of the World Cup after a remarkable 1-0 win against all odds against Denmark.

Not bad for a team that lost 4-1 in the opening game to France.

The win means Australia finished second in Group D on six points – the Socceroos’ best ever group stage effort in six World Cups.

Australia will play in the second round for just the second time ever and has secured a date with Messi’s Argentina. The match is scheduled for Sunday at 6am (AEDT).

Messi’s men won 2-0 against Poland to top Group C. Poland hung on to second and will play France.

Round of 16

Sunday, December 4

2am — Netherlands v USA, 6am — Argentina v Australia

Monday, December 5

2am — France v Poland, 6am — England v Senegal

Australia had to do it the hard way.

The Socceroos were under the pump from the opening whistle against a Denmark team that had to win to make the second round.

For 60 minutes, the Danes dominated possession but just couldn’t find a way through.

A draw was looking good enough, but then disaster happened in the other Group D match.

France – who had rested nine players for the final game with qualification assured – conceded to Tunisia. All of a sudden a draw wasn’t enough for Australia.

Australia just needed a chance. And on the hour mark it came.

Tunisia had just scored in the other game, meaning a draw was no longer enough. Denmark continued to push, until the play broke down and Australia got the ball.

Mitchell Duke fed Riley McGree, who released winger Mat Leckie. Leckie looked around, but was all alone so went on his own.

Leckie turned Denmark’s Barcelona defender Andreas Christensen inside out, and squeezed it past keeper Kasper Schmeichel.

It was the goal Australia needed.

Soon after Denmark thought they had a penalty when Harry Souttar was ruled to have fouled Jesper Lindstrom, but an off-side flag saved what would have been a harsh call.

McGree was taken off and another defender in Bailey Wright added to give Australia five at the back for a nervous finish.

But the Socceroos seemed to be able to weather any storm from Denmark, as the team in red grew frustrated – knowing they needed two goals to advance.

In the 88th minute, man mountain defender Souttar again came to the rescue – like he did in the Tunisia win – sliding in to deny the Danes a late chance.

Leckie was brought off a minute later to a huge cheer from the small pocket of Aussie supporters.

In a last-ditch effort, Schmeichel even went up for two late corners for Denmark.

But to no avail, Australia held on.

Australia made just one change from the team that beat Tunisia 1-0, with Milos Degenek becoming the third different player to start at right back.

And just like the final 45 minutes against Tunisia, Australia was under constant attack from Denmark in the opening half.

Denmark finished the half with double the possession of the Socceroos, but was unable to find a way through.

In a sign of just how under the pump the Socceroos were, goalkeeper Mat Ryan finished the half with the most passes.

But for the most part Australia could handle the Danish attacks.

Degenek blocked what looked like a sure goal in the 10th minute, and Ryan looked safe in goals with a good save in the 11th minute.

For Australia the chances were few and far between, with no genuine threatening attacks.

For the second half, Arnold brought on a defensive minded midfielder in Keanu Baccus for winger Craig Goodwin.

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