WC18 AUSTRALIA TRAINING
Bert van Marwijk has backed Australia to stay the course and overcome Peru, while also trusting France to hold nothing back against Denmark, as the Socceroos bid to reach the World Cup knockout stage for just the second time.
Australia face an "emotional" Peru in Sochi on Tuesday (Wednesday 12am AEST), knowing they must win to have any chance of advancing to the last 16.
Coach van Marwijk has been heartened by the Socceroos' two showings to date - against France and Denmark - and believes a similar performance against the South Americans will earn the Socceroos their first World Cup win in eight years.
"We have to reward ourselves for the work we do and the way we play, what we've showed the world," he said.
"Everybody is positive.
"Now we have to reward ourselves."
The 66-year-old said Australia would resist a change in style for the win-or-bust occasion against a Peruvian outfit already out of knockout contention, keeping faith in his defence-first game plan.
"We have to trust our way of playing," he said.
"It's very important (in) all the games that you are yourself. I think against this opponent it's even more so.
"The opponent is an emotional team so you can expect everything.
"I think that's the key so there is nothing to do with forcing some things.
"I don't think you must force something from the beginning. We must first get our natural rhythm that we play."
Australia must also rely on France if they are to reach the knockout phase.
Already guaranteed of progression to the last 16, Les Bleus (six points) play Denmark (four points) in Moscow at the same time as the Socceroos face Peru.
A Danish victory or draw would see the Scandinavians stay ahead of Australia, rendering any Socceroos victory meaningless.
Van Marwijk said he expected the French to play for the win given their unconvincing showings in Russia to date.
"The players of France also have their own pride," he said.
"They won twice but they didn't play well and they want to prove to the whole world they are one of the best teams.
"I believe they will do their utmost best."
Against Peru, van Marwijk will be forced to make his first selection change of the tournament.
Andrew Nabbout's shoulder injury will keep him out of the rest of Australia's campaign, with Tomi Juric, Jamie Maclaren and Tim Cahill the options to replace him as striker.
On the matter of the starting line-up, the Dutchman's lips are sealed.
"I won't tell you," he deadpanned, leaving Socceroos fans guessing as to whether they may have seen the last of Cahill in a Socceroos jersey.
The 38-year-old is clubless at the end of the tournament and could call time on his illustrious playing career.