KAZAN • Australia's crunch World Cup match against Peru today could be Bert van Marwijk's last game in charge but the no-nonsense Dutchman has already left a deep impression during his short time in charge.
Managing the weakest team in a group boasting France and Denmark, he was given little hope of leading the team through to the knockout rounds. Given that the 36th-ranked Socceroos are still alive, his short tenure can be seen as something of a success.
Australia need to beat 11th-ranked Peru in Sochi today and hope that France defeat Denmark at the same time to have a chance of reaching the last 16.
The Socceroos' fate may be out of their hands - and goal difference may ultimately deny them - but van Marwijk is convinced that the seas will part for them.
"I hope and I think that we will stay here in Kazan," said the 66-year-old, who was hired only for the World Cup and knows his successor will be Graham Arnold.
"I think the players of France... also have their own pride, they won two times but they didn't play well and they want to prove to the whole world that they are one of the best teams. I believe that they will do their utmost best."
GROUP C PERMUTATIONS
Denmark v France
Singtel TV Ch141, StarHub Ch222 & Mediacorp okto, 10pm
Australia v Peru
Ch142 & Ch223, 10pm
Qualified for last 16. Need a point to top group.
Need a point to qualify. Top group if they defeat France. They will also advance should they lose and Australia fail to beat Peru.
Must beat Peru and hope Denmark lose to France, while having a better goal difference compared with the Danes.
Australia captain Mile Jedinak knows his side cannot look past their own fixture.
"We're not kidding ourselves, we are relying on someone else to get a result for us but we've got to go do the business ourselves," he said.
Australia will need to make at least one change to their starting side, with forward Andrew Nabbout ruled out of the match after suffering a shoulder injury in the 1-1 draw against Denmark.
Regular striker Tomi Juric, who came off the bench to replace Nabbout, declared himself fit to start after nursing a knee injury, but van Marwijk may be tempted to gamble on 19-year-old Daniel Arzani, who gave the Socceroos plenty of drive after coming on in the second half against the Danes.
Australian fans, however, will clamour for at least a cameo from World Cup hero Tim Cahill, the 38-year-old striker having been an unused substitute throughout.
Already-eliminated Peru want to finish their first World Cup in 36 years on a high note.
"I see all my team-mates with the knife between their teeth," Peru captain Paolo Guerrero. "They don't want to go home empty handed.
"We are looking forward to it and we'd like to at least go home with three points so we can give a little bit of joy to the fans who have come all this way and (those) who are watching back home." REUTERS