Thursday 21 June 2018, 20:54

Socceroos laud ice-cool Jedinak

  • Mile Jedinak scored yet another World Cup penalty

  • Australia captain joins the likes of Eusebio and Stoichkov

  • Socceroos face Peru in Sochi still with a chance of qualifying

​By Sarah Widera with Australia

"We deserved more."

So said Bert van Marwijk following Australia's 1-1 draw with Denmark and, given his side's dominance in the game's latter stages, you could certainly see his point.

But there was a stage in the first half when, with Australia shaky and unconvincing, they needed a player who would not wilt under the pressure. Step forward Mile Jedinak, who equalised with his second penalty in as many games and his third overall at the FIFA World Cup™.

That impressive haul puts him in illustrious company, with only six men - Rob Rensenbrink, Gabriel Batistuta, Eusebio (all four), Johan Neeskens, Hristo Stoichkov and Fernando Hierro (all three) - having previously reached this mark at the beautiful game's greatest competition.

As Daniel Arzani, the team's youngest player and an impressive second half substitute against the Danes, said: “When we have a penalty, we know we’re going to score because he’s just so consistent. It gives the team confidence."

But it is not just on the pitch the Socceroos can rely on their fierce skipper: “Anyone who’s been around the team knows that Mile is a leader - he’s the commander of the team and, when he speaks, everyone listens,” Arzani continued.

Midfielder Jackson Irvine agreed, adding:  “It’s not just his presence on the field and his presence in the dressing room - he’s our leader in the group and he’s always reliable in any scenario. we're going to need another big performance from him next week."

The Socceroos are still alive at this World Cup and have everything to play for against Peru on Tuesday. The skipper himself is certainly confident that his team is up for the challenge of claiming the win that could see them pip either France or Denmark to a place in the last 16.

“We need to have that belief," he said. "We’re still in with a chance, we have to hold onto that chance, and we have to put in another massive performance.”