The Socceroos ran all-out in their final Group C match against Peru, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough, as the South American nation stole the match away to beat our boys 2-0 in Sochi.
Where Mile Jedinak and co started nervously in their other group matches against France and Denmark, they opened this match where they left off against Denmark – full-throttle.
Tomi Juric replaced the injured Andrew Nabbout (who was out with shoulder trouble) in the only change to a Socceroos side looking to make the Round of 16 for the first time in 12 years.
The picturesque Fisht Stadium on the Russian Riviera was pulsating as both sets of fans belted out spine-tingling renditions of their national anthems, before a frantic opening to the match saw Juric and Robbie Kruse go close to scoring.
Peru’s one goal in the first half, by Andre Carillo, was scored against the run of play after a ball in behind the Socceroos defence for captain Paolo Guerrero was passed into the path of Carillo to volley home.
It was a cracker of a goal and there wasn’t much Australia or goalkeeper Matt Ryan could have done to keep it out. It was Peru’s first goal at Russia 2018 and their first in 36 years at World Cup level.
Our boys moved the ball forward every chance they had with Tom Rogic dancing through the La Blanquirroja defence and coming close to netting an equaliser.
Australia finished the first half on top, but couldn’t quite find the back of the net, which would prove costly in the end.
During the second half, Peru created their luck with enterprising play down the left, as the winger combined with Peru’s all-time leading goal scorer Guerrero to put another one away.
In the 53rd minute Tim Cahill, who replaced Juric, finally made his first appearance in Russia, equalling an Australian record of nine World Cup appearances by former Socceroo Mark Bresciano.
Five minutes later, Van Marwijk introduced hotshot Daniel Arzani for Kruse, with the 19-year-old once again adding spark to Australia’s attack.
Cahill’s volley soon after proved the side’s last chance at a consolation goal. The only man to play for Australia at four World Cups was unable to write more history by becoming the fifth man ever to score at four editions of the tournament.