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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 June 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 JUNE 2018 27 SPORT van Marwijk ‘disappointed’ after Denmark draw GEORGE STOGIANNOU The Socceroos' hopes of progressing out of the group stage remain alive following the 1-1 draw with Denmark in Samara on Thursday evening. However, Australia is no longer the master of their own World Cup fate. The drawn game has left the Socceroos in third place in Group D, with an outside chance of progressing beyond the group stage. But with just the one point from their opening two games, and trailing the Danes by three points, Australia needs to win their last group match against the already-eliminated Peru in the early hours of Wednesday, and the already-qualified France must defeat Denmark, who needs just a single point to ensure qualification ahead of Australia. Socceroos’ boss Bert van Marwik opted to field an unchanged starting 11 against Denmark, but the team got off to a nervous start which proved costly when they conceded early to a goal from Danish danger man Christian Eriksen. Eriksen escaped his marker to fire a left foot volley past keeper Matt Ryan after the Socceroos’ defence was caught out in transition. The Danes opted for a direct approach bombing long balls forward, however after the initial 15 minutes, the Australian defence coped well with the Danish attacks. For Australia, Matthew Leckie, with his pace and energy and aerial threat looked the most likely to trouble the Danish defence. At the same time, midfielder Aaron Mooy was working hard defensively and had an increasing influence as the game progressed. The Socceroos had VAR to thank for picking up a handball by Danish forward Poul- I feel we should have won. It’s like against France: I’m disappointed and proud, and feel we deserved more son, as he defended a Leckie header from the corner. The ref consulted with the VAR and awarded Australia the penalty which an ice-cool Mile Jedinak converted, despite every effort by Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel to put him off. The Danes came out on the front foot early in the second half but Australia soon began to threaten again and enjoy the greater posses- sion, especially in midfield through Rogic and Mooy. The introduction of Daniel Arzani for Robbie Kruse gave the Socceroos an extra dimension in attack. The Aussie coach introduced Tommi Juric in preference to Tim Cahill when Andrew Nabbout was forced from the field with a shoulder injury in the 73rd minute. Despite all of Australia's efforts, they couldn't find the winner that would move them ahead of the Danes in the race for progressing out of the group stage. After the match, van Marwijk commented, "I feel we should have won. It's like against France: I'm disappointed and proud, and feel we deserved more. I honestly think we've deserved four points from these two games. The last piece of the puzzle is we must be able to score one goal more than the opponent. Because I'm satisfied with a lot of things, almost all the things we ask them. From the first day the team improves everyday. They surprised me again today. At this level, when you create so many chances against Denmark, I must be satisfied about the way we play and the creation of chances. The only thing we have to do is put the ball in the goal." See preview of the AustraliaPeru match on page 28. Kyrgios looks ahead to Wimbledon GEORGE STOGIANNOU Nick Kyrgios’ preparation for Wimbledon continues to gain momentum following two good wins at the traditional lead-in event, the Queens Club. On Thursday, the Australian defeated Australian Open semifinalist Kyle Edmund in a tight three-set match 7-6, 6-7, 6-3, to advance to the final eight of the Fever-Tree Championship tournament at Queens. That followed his first win over friend Andy Murray in their Rd of 32 match at the Queens Tournament earlier in the week. The earlier match was Murray’s first in his return to competitive tennis in almost a year due to a long lay-off from the game recovering from a hip injury. The Scot start strongly taking the first set 6-2 before the Australian fought back to win the second set tie break 7-6 and then the third set 7-5.It was Kyrgios’ first win over Murray in six attempts and he commented afterwards, “Obviously we are good mates and it was great to see him back and healthy.” For Kyrgios, who has had his own recent struggles with a troublesome elbow injury, the Queens tournament is an important step in his preparation for the grass courts of Wimbledon. It follows on from last week’s grass court tournament in Stuttgart where he reached the semifinals before losing to current world number one Roger Federer in a three setter. As well as playing sin- gles at Queens, Kyrgios is playing doubles with Australian Davis Cup captain Lleyton Hewitt. Kyrgios said “If I’m feeling good physically, and if I believe in myself, there is no reason why I can’t go into Wimbledon as one of the serious threats,” he said. “I played well against Roger last week, up 3-1 in the tiebreak serving. I wouldn’t say we played unbelievable today, I played OK. “I feel like I’m in good form on the grass. My timing, my hands are all good. I’ve just got to keep staying healthy hopefully, and I’ll be fine.” Kyrgios was scheduled to play 37th-ranked Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez in the quarter finals of the Fever-Tree Championship last night PHOTO: SOCCEROOS FACEBOOK Nick Kyrgios in action against Britain’s Andy Murray during their first round match at the Fever-Tree Championships at Queen’s Club in London. PHOTO: AAP VIA EPA/NEIL HALL.
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