Harry Souttar | Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Denmark marks. Graham Arnold’s team beat the odds to advance to the round of 16 in Qatar and secure the runners-up place in Group D for the first time since 2006.
Australia may not have the offensive talent of their last World Cup team. But they do have a defensive Goliath in the form of Scottish-born centre defender Harry Souttar.
However, Arnold’s ability to attack was not what carried this victory.
Although it was definitely not a smash-and-grab. It was a day for Australia’s tenacious rearguard to stand tall, which they did from the opening whistle, with Souttar, an unyielding general born in Aberdeen to an Australian mother and a Scottish father.
As Australia absorbed everything Denmark could throw at them. Souttar, a hulking centre back whose World Cup performances have been a throwback to the days when defenders had nicknames like Psycho, Chopper, and Razor, was once again immovable.
With a height of 6 feet 6 inches (1.98 metres), Souttar, a Stoke City player in the second division of English football. Was a physically intimidating presence. He flung himself into blocks and tackles with a joy that contemporary centre backs often lack.
After Mathew Leckie’s superb goal in the 60th minute. Denmark attempted to get back into the game. And whenever the ball moved into the area, Souttar’s head always made contact with it.
During stoppage time, the ball was sent into the Australia penalty area four times. But each time, Souttar placed his head in the way of harm. In the 87th minute, he slid down the ground to make a wonderful challenge on Kasper Dolberg.
Given that he spent nearly a year on the sidelines after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury while playing for Australia last November. The 24-year-all-action old’s heroics at the World Cup. There he had already gained notoriety for a perfectly-timed crunch on Tunisia’s Yassine Khenissi, are even more impressive.