Socceroos great Harry Kewell has revealed what Australia needs to do to beat Tunisia tonight and keep its World Cup alive.
Australia took a shock lead against holders France in their opener in Qatar before being soundly beaten 4-1 and have another tough test in a Tunisian side who held Denmark to a goalless draw.
Australia’s World Cup campaign will be in grave danger if they don’t win and it will be akin to an away match in Qatar with an estimated 30,000 Tunisian fans expected to back their side at Al Janoub Stadium.
Kewell has called for striker Jamie Maclaren to start to try and put Tunisia on the back foot.
“He’s got the idea, I quite like that, coming in spinning and going in behind,” Kewell told SBS.
“Sometimes I felt, especially in the France game, we were playing, and every time the ball was coming we were playing it backwards (and) we weren’t running into space.”
He said he wanted Australia to be aggressive, with Maclaren’s pace putting Tunisia under pressure.
Fullback Nathaniel Atkinson will miss the game through injury, but midfielder Adjin Hrustic is expected to start after missing the France game.
Speaking the day before the game, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold said his side would be aggressive.
“We’ll be in their faces, we’ll be up high and chasing and pressing, we’ll be on the front foot,” the 59-year-old Arnold told a pre-match press conference on Friday.
“The Tunisians like physical games and we’ve got to match the physical aspect,” he added.
“We’ve got to muscle up and give it our best.”
Australia hasn’t won a World Cup game since Serbia in 2010, with many thinking pre-tournament Tunisia would be the Socceroos’ best chance to break that drought.
But Tunisia held Denmark to a draw in the first game, willed on by a huge contingent of travelling fans.
Defender Aziz Behich said that he was relishing silencing the massed ranks of Tunisian fans who created a crackling atmosphere and cheered every tackle and clearance in the stalemate with Denmark.
“It’s exciting. Personally I’ve been lucky enough to play in hostile environments in Turkey,” said the 31-year-old.
“We saw footage of their fans and that’s what you want – as a footballer you never want to see an empty stadium.” “I’m excited to get out on that pitch and hear that hostile environment,” he added.
“It kind of puts fire in my belly a bit more to be honest.” Tunisia are chasing a place in the knockout phase for the first time and Ellyes Skhiri said: “We have an opportunity to get in the history books. We don’t want to have regrets.
“We need to play as well as we can to get through this round. We must give everything so we don’t have any regrets,” said the Cologne midfielder.
“We know there are a lot of fans out there and we want to do them proud.”
Australia plays Tunisia at 9pm (AEDT).