Game-changer Arzani the key to punishing Peru

The case for Daniel Arzani to be given more time to shine for Australia looks open and shut after his sparkling 25-minute cameo almost turned one point into three against Denmark.

Arzani

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The 19-year-old’s impertinence and impish impetuosity brought a missing dimension as Australia cranked up the search for a winner against a Denmark team, who were there for the taking in the second half.

The 1-1 draw keeps Australia in with a chance of reaching the last 16 of the World Cup, assuming they beat Peru in Sochi next Tuesday and France see off Denmark.

And Arzani, who carved out several chances and could have even scored himself during his devilish dalliance off the bench, might just be the catalyst to conjure the win that has so far evaded Australia in Russia.

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He, though, isn’t trying to twist the arm of coach Bert van Marwijk for more minutes.

The electricity of his improvisation is doing that for him.

“I was really happy to get on and was disappointed for the boys because I believe we dominated the second half and deserved to get the three points,” he said.

“I think I had enough time to be honest. I had a big chance at the end there and I feel like I should’ve put that away.

“All we can do now is look to the next game.

“We have a chance to get through - we just have to go for the win.”



When Arzani, who replaced Robbie Kruse, is on the pitch anything looks possible for Australia.

His brash belief, backed up by his ability to dance past opponents with effortless ease, is infectious.

And van Marwijk praised his impact, whilst hinting he might be used more expansively against Peru.

“Everybody knows he’s a big talent,” he said.

“He doesn’t play so long in the Australian competition (the A-League).

“It’s an exception that I nominate him but I trust his qualities. He has to learn a lot, but he’s very talented and also an intelligent player.

“It’s good to have him now playing 25 minutes and I will see what I do the next game.”

Arzani, meanwhile, is milking the moment.

“You go out there, and you think everybody is human, and every top player can make a mistake,” he said.

“You relate to that and it gives you confidence.

“I just came on really happy, really excited and also a little bit relaxed because that’s when you play your best football.

“I just wanted to come on and make an impact.”

Asked what messages he’d been sent into battle with, Arzani replied: “The boss told me to remember my defensive duties and to do my thing when I get the ball,” he added.

“I think I’ve learned a lot in the last four weeks. What to do off the field and also on the field. There’s a lot more responsibility when you’re coming on for your country and I feel like I’ve handled that okay. I still have a lot to learn.”

And a lot to offer in terms of wowing fans, like the moment he dinked the ball past Denmark’s own glamour boy Pione Sisto on the byline before his cross sparked mass havoc in the Danish penalty box.

“He came in quickly and I knew there was going to be space,” he said. “I think he thought I was going to go for a nutmeg, so I flicked the bell over his foot.

“I think we were unlucky to get a goal from that situation.

“We were devastated to go behind (to Christian Eriksen’s seventh-minute strike).

“But we went on to control the game.”




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4 min read
Published 22 June 2018 at 4:03am
By Dave Lewis in Samara