SAMARA, Russia (Reuters) - Australia should unleash veteran Tim Cahill and tyro Daniel Arzani in their World Cup match against Denmark if they are to have any hope of reaching the knockout stages, according to former Socceroos Mark Bosnich and Stan Lazaridis.
The 38-year-old Cahill and Arzani, who at 19 is the youngest player at the tournament, were both left out of Bert van Marwijk’s starting line-up that put up a brave fight before falling 2-1 to France in their Group C opener.
The objective then was to frustrate their opponents and snatch a creditable draw that would have teed them up nicely for their remaining fixtures.
That defeat, however, left them facing a potential exit should they lose again to Denmark in Samara on Thursday, prompting calls for Australia to add bite to their attack.
“A guy that must start in my opinion is the youngest player here at the World Cup, Daniel Arzani,” Bosnich, who played in goal for Australia between 1993 and 2000, told Reuters.
“He is a player that we have not had since the likes of Harry Kewell and he is somebody that can provide us with something different.
“We have lacked it in all our history, we have never had a player of that type, the only one that comes close was Kewell, the one who gets the ball and will take on people and create things.”
Melbourne City youngster Arzani was raised in Khorramabad in western Iran and had barely played any senior A-League football until January.
He made his international debut against Czech Republic earlier this month and scored his first goal against Hungary a week later, while his dream of appearing in Russia was fulfilled when he came on as a late substitute against France.
“He was a refugee from Iran and he played street football and you can see that in him as well, and that is something that is in all of world football’s hearts especially for us,” Bosnich added at a match between Australian fans and a local Samara team.
Another player the former Manchester United keeper would like to see against Denmark is Cahill, who was left kicking his heels on the bench in the opener.
The former Everton forward is far and away his country’s most prolific international scorer with 50 goals and would be bidding to find the net at a fourth World Cup providing he can get on the pitch.
Lazaridis, the former West Ham United and Birmingham City winger who was part of Australia’s 2006 World Cup squad, would like to see Cahill on the pitch against Denmark from kickoff.
“For me I would start him and at least try to play him for an hour,” Lazaridis told Reuters.
“I feel that he is one that can score goals and we are struggling at the moment to score goals so I feel that rather than bringing him on, you are chasing the game that way, I would rather have Timmy try and score and get us out in front.”
Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by John O'Brien