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Mile Jedinak: Australia 'still have a sniff' of advancing to knockout stage

Mile Jedinak believes Australia "still have a sniff" of making the knockout stages of the World Cup, despite their 1-1 draw with Denmark leaving qualification out of their hands.

The Socceroos have a single point from their two games, meaning in the final set of fixtures they must now beat the already-eliminated Peru and hope Denmark lose to France, who only need a draw to top Group C.

"We're still in with a sniff," said Jedinak after the game. "Nobody can say anything other than that. We've got a chance and we have to keep believing.

"It is frustrating, but I think you have to put that frustration aside. You don't put in two performances like that [against Denmark and France] if you're frustrated. You've got to just believe, and that's what you do.

"Everyone in that changing room knows we've got a chance still. It's about fine-tuning, preparing and recovering right. We believe in the structure in how we've been preparing, and that will be the same going forwards."

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The Aston Villa midfielder equalised Christian Eriksen's early goal from the penalty spot, after the video assistant referee intervened, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz reversing his initial decision about Denmark winger Yussuf Poulsen's handball in the area.

That means Jedinak has scored Australia's last five competitive goals -- all from dead ball situations, four penalties, one free kick -- after netting against France in their first game, and the hat trick in the qualifying playoff against Honduras.

Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel attempted to intimidate Jedinak before the penalty by approaching and shouting at him, but those attempts failed.

"The goalkeeper will do what he has to, to make him feel bigger than he is," said Jedinak. "It's not important what he said."

"It's about composing yourself and staying concentrated, regardless of the situation, of what's going on around you. You still have to stay focused."

Australia have only reached the second phase of a World Cup once, in 2006 when a late Harry Kewell goal earned them a point in their final group game, putting them ahead of Croatia.

"It goes without saying it will mean an awful lot," said Jedinak, about qualification for the next round. "We'll have to put in an almighty effort and we'll need a bit of luck, but it's why we play this game."

Australia coach Bert van Marwijk was frustrated by his side's missed chances and thought they should have won at least one of their first two games.

"The conclusion is we have one point and we deserve four," the Dutchman said. "Beside the first 15 minutes we played well, had chances to win and deserved to win so I am disappointed. We played very well and created chances and it is an unbelievable pity that we didn't score.

"When you are at this level and create so many chances against Denmark I must be happy with the number of chances, the only thing we have to do is put the ball in the goal. The last part of the puzzle is that we must make the difference by scoring one more goal than the opponents.

"From the first day the team has improved every day and they surprised me again today."

Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.


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