2022 World Cup: Denmark, Australia ready for clash with dreams and legacies on the line

Previewing the Socceroos' do-or-die World Cup clash with Denmark (1:58)

ESPN's Joey Lynch provides an update from Australia's training base in Qatar ahead of their final group stage game at the World Cup. (1:58)

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand knows there's pressure on his side ahead of their World Cup clash with Australia, but he and Socceroo boss Graham Arnold are targeting it as an opportunity to live dreams and leave lasting legacies.

Denmark and Australia will meet at the Al Janoub Stadium on Wednesday with both their round of 16 fates uncertain. A Socceroos win or a draw would eliminate the Danes and, short of a Tunisia upset of France, secure their progression to the knockout stages for the first time since 2006.

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Denmark, conversely, must win and hope that Tunisia doesn't stun the reigning world champions to salvage their campaign. Floated as a potential dark horse coming into the tournament, a group stage exit, especially at the hands of relative minnows Australia, would constitute a major disappointment.

"I think it would be wrong and not being honest if I didn't say there's pressure," Hjulmand said in his prematch news conference. "[But] we are very solid and a very good group. We are never alone, we do things together. I don't feel alone. I have my great staff and the players and we do things together.

"The more experience you get in these kinds of events, from maybe feeling the pressure, you [begin to] feel pride. It's [been] a long, long dream since you were a kid. Now you are actually in a position where you can go out and play football for something. It's a privilege, it's something you should enjoy. That's the best way of doing it.

"We do it together, we look forward to it and it's a reward for being able to dream big and work hard and go after your dreams. Here you go, here's your dream; let's see what you can do with it, let's see what we can do. That's the best way of doing it."

For his part, Arnold spoke ahead of his side's 1-0 win over Tunisia of his desire to put smiles on the faces of Australians watching on back home but now, with a chance to become just the second Socceroo side to ever reach the round of 16, he's eyeing leaving a legacy.

"That's the whole purpose. My whole goal, when I say put smiles on Australian faces, that is also not about me, it's about the game in Australia," Arnold said.

"If you're not Australian and you don't know, football in Australia is probably the fourth or the fifth sport after AFL, Rugby League, Rugby Union, and cricket. Then there's football. They call it soccer, but it's football.

"To leave a legacy is huge. In 2006 and what that generation did ... the kids that grew up [with that] are these kids [playing] in this generation. They were ten, watching these guys in 2006. Those guys were their inspiration.

"When you sit around now, this generation is talking about emulating the 2006 squad and achieving the same goals that, when they were ten years of age, they saw.

"So it's about putting the game a bit more in Australia. But there's so much work to do and look at."

With a draw under most realistic standards enough for Australia to advance and their style generally being built around a physical and counter-attacking game, Hjulmand is anticipating his side will need to eventually break down a "very strong defensive unit" that is "very close in their organisation."

However, the 50-year-old doesn't expect the Socceroos to be a completely passive opponent.

"I think they'll come out strong against us, they won't just be sitting," he said. "I think they'll run against us. I think we'll be put under pressure. They'll try to get close to us and get close in the duels.

"I don't just expect them to be sitting and waiting."