Denmark coach Age Hareide believes the Socceroos will try and "take Christian Eriksen out of the match" when the two nations clash on Thursday night (AEST).
The heartbeat of the Danish side has scored 12 goals in his last 14 games for his country, and could turn the lights out on Australia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup survival plans single-handedly if he’s allowed time and space to wreak his customary havoc.
“It’s clear that Christian is the player they will want to stop, and I’m sure Australia will try and take him out of the game,” said the Norwegian who led Danish Dynamite through the play-offs to Russia 2018.
Hareide didn’t expand on what methods Bert van Marwijk’s men might use to thwart the Eriksen effect, whether fair or foul.
Peru, in losing their opener 1-0 to the Danes, kept Eriksen under a tight leech for long periods, but could not prevent him setting up the winner for Yussuf Poulsen.
Though expecting his playmaker to be under the gun, Hareide was far from critical of a Socceroos side he deemed as “unlucky” to lose to France.
He feels they have come a long way in a short time under van Marwijk’s rigid tactical structures.
“I saw their first match under Van Marwijk when they lost (4-1) to Norway in March," Hareide said.
“But now it’s now quite a different team.
“They have changed very much and are now very well organised.
“They are strong in the back and very hard to score against.
“They work very hard and have an excellent team spirit.
“I thought France were lucky to get the victory against them ... for me, Australia should have got one point from that match.
“But, for us, (in the context of the group) we were very happy with that result.”
Hareide expects Denmark to dictate the tempo of the game.
“I think we will have the most possession. It is very important to control the match,” he said.