Australia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ dream is over with the Socceroos falling 2-0 to Peru in their final Group C game.
Elsewhere, Denmark and France played out a scoreless draw as both sides progressed through to the Round of 16.
Two Peru goals against the run of play in either half was the difference, as the Socceroos created a host of chances but were unable to profit in what was a must-win game.
Bert van Marwijk called on striker Tomi Juric to replace the injured Andrew Nabbout in the starting XI, and the Socceroos came out of the blocks strongly to assert themselves in the opening 15 minutes.
But the task was always going to be tricky once Peru’s Andre Carrillo scored his country’s first goal of the tournament – which was also Peru’s first appearance at a FIFA World Cup™ in 36 years.
Despite falling behind, the Socceroos mounted chances for a comeback, with Tom Rogic pulling the strings in an attacking midfield role and at the heart of everything good about the green and gold’s attack.
It wasn’t to be, as Peru’s skipper Paolo Guerrero struck a dagger blow just four minutes after the restart to double the South American side’s lead.
Van Marwijk called upon legendary all-time record goalscorer Tim Cahill off the bench – giving the 38-year-old 35 minutes in his fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup™ tournament – while Daniel Arzani was another player summoned in the hopes of providing a spark.
Cahill’s impact was almost immediate, with a blocked acrobatic effort from a Trent Sainsbury knockdown, with Arzani also attempting to pull a goal back with a long range strike just over the bar.
West Australians Trent Sainsbury and Josh Risdon figured in the Socceroos team for the third successive World Cup match.
STORY OF THE GAME
- 15’ STRONG START– The Socceroos burst out of the blocks and played on the front foot, with Peru looking to soak up pressure and counter attack. This early momentum saw Australia control 56% of the ball and get multiple crosses into the box.
- 18’ PERU GOAL– Just as the Socceroos were building pressure, Andre Carrillo slotted a volley into the bottom corner. The move came after Peru played Paolo Guerrero in behind Australia’s defence, with the striker crossing to the edge of the box for Carrillo, the right winger, to squeeze his shot beyond Aziz Behich and Mat Ryan in goals.
- 27’ AUSTRALIA CHANCE– Tom Rogic was at the heart of everything good about Australia’s attack and had a shot blocked as the Socceroos looked to draw level. Trent Sainsbury drived into the final third with the ball and found Rogic, who jinked past two Peru defenders before his space was squeezed out.
- 34’ AUSTRALIA CHANCE– Another promising attack nearly resulted in a goal, with Sainsbury finding Rogic in midfield who was able to face forward and release Robbie Kruse in behind Peru’s defence. Kruse’s cutback to Mathew Leckie was scrambled out for a corner.
- 40’ AUSTRALIA CHANCE– The first half ended as it started, with Australia on the front foot and Sainsbury had the final chance of the opening stanza – he headed wide from Aaron Mooy’s free kick after Josh Risdon was dragged back on the edge of the box.
- 49’ PERU GOAL– A dagger blow. Just minutes into the second half Peru struck again – this time via a deflected Guerrero strike which hit the bottom corner via Mark Milligan’s desperate attempt to block the shot.
- 59’ AUSTRALIA CHANCE– Just minutes after the introductions of Tim Cahill and Daniel Arzani, Behich came close from a corner with his left foot shot inches past the post. From the immediate resulting corner, Cahill had a volley blocked from a Sainsbury knockdown.
- 81’ PERU CHANCE– With the Socceroos pushing forward in search of goals, Peru struck the woodwork late via Guerrero, although the offside flag was raised.