Both Australia and Denmark have shown plenty of promise and quality in their opening two Group F clashes in Guadalajara here at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Mexico 2011. Nevertheless, after tough encounters against section rivals Brazil and Côte d’Ivoire, neither has secured a place in the Round of 16 and now face off in Queretaro to try and keep their tournament hopes alive.
These two sides pride themselves on being strong, disciplined units, while also featuring outstanding individual talents such as Joeys’ striker Dylan Tombides and the Danes’ attacker Viktor Fischer. Both have scored contenders for goal of the tournament so far, yet goals alone do not do justice to their impressive all-round ability. Indeed, the pair's ability to dribble, create and finish makes them key weapons in their respective sides’ armouries.
With three points already in the bag, level with Côte d’Ivoire who have a better goal difference, Australia are in a good position to qualify for the last 16, either in one of the group’s top-two spots or as one of the four best third-placed teams from the six groups. Denmark, in contrast, are well and truly up against it having failed to pick up a point so far and with a goal difference of minus five.
3 – On ten appearances at FIFA U-17 World Cup final tournaments, Australia have only failed to reach the knockout stages on three occasions: in 1989, 2003 and 2005. Their best performance to date came at New Zealand 1999, when they reached the final only to lose on penalties to Brazil.
“Of course the second defeat makes things difficult. There’s a lot of work to do with the players, both invidually and on a group basis. But we’re going to give it everything we’ve got to try and qualify,” Denmark coach Thomas Frank.
“I’d like us to have qualified for next round already, and had we drawn against Brazil that would probably have seen us through. We now need to wait for our next game to try and make sure, but I’m happy with the way we’ve played so far,” Australia coach Jan Versleijen.