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Australia Today

19-Year-Old Daniel Arzani Is Making Australian Soccer Exciting Again

And no, we don’t feel sorry for Robbie Kruse.

Barracking for the Aussies in the World Cup is usually a quiet and shameful affair because we’re shit. We just lack the finesse, flair, and acting skills of our European allies. But still we watch on in hope. And in the last quarter—yes I just divided soccer into AFL segments—of our match against Denmark, something beautiful happened.

Robbie Kruse was substituted off.

But that wasn’t it. A star was born and proved that the Socceroos have the balls to be a confronting challenger.


It was the 68th minute of our World Cup game against Denmark in the Group C draw. The scores were tied. Robbie was substituted off after a string of un-coordinated passes and the roaring chants exploded from the Aussie-filled grandstands, cheering on the youngest player in the World cup: Daniel Arzani.

Arzani was born in Khorramabad, Iran, and migrated to Sydney with his family when he was six years old. He only began his starting debut in the A-league as an attacking midfielder and winger for Melbourne City in January this year.

As he ran onto the field in Samara Arena, Arzani had 20-odd minutes to prove his worth on an unforgiving world stage. In the 88th minute, he rocketed the ball from his right boot and dropped Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, who denied him a sharp opportunity. He didn’t lose confidence or sight, continuously firing crosses and testing the expertise of Schmeichel.

"I came on feeling really happy, really excited and a little bit relaxed. I just wanted to come on and make an impact." Arzani said in a post-match interview, "I had a big chance at the end there. I feel like I should have put that away."

Arzani already has one international goal under his belt, in the lead up to the World cup the Socceroos played Hungary and took home a shonky win thanks to Daniel Arzani when he was substituted into the game in the second half. Coach, Van Marwijk told the ABC, “we made a lot of mistakes, we ran too much with the ball. We weren’t patient enough, also we had some technical issues.”


The second half against Denmark was a radically different team and it was Arzani who sparked the flame. He was ruthless and relentless with his attacking, charging at defenders and opening up opportunities that revived our hopes in the upcoming decider against a Guerrero led Peru.

As a result, international soccer giants Juventus, Manchester City, Bayer Leverkusen, Slavia Prague, AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven are all in contact with the Iranian-born Australian about his future, according to the Sun.

Kruse’s ability to run back to defense does seem stronger than Arzani’s but that could be down to experience and the little exposure Arzani has had on the world stage and in times when we’re so desperately concerned with attacking and acquiring goals.

Former Socceroo Josip Skoko told Omnisport, “Starting is a totally different kettle of fish. It's one thing coming on and playing for 30, it's another thing playing 90."

The conversation in Australia still seems to be around whether Arzani will play in the starting line up against Peru. Van Mirwijk concluded in a post match interview, “Everybody knows [Arzani’s] a big talent… I think it’s good for him now to play 25 minutes and I will see what I will do in the next game.”

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