Tim Cahill should play from the start against Denmark if Australia is to get the best out of the veteran midfielder, according to Stan Lazaridis.

At the age of 38, Cahill is at his fourth World Cup, although he remained on the bench during the Socceroos' opening 2-1 Group C defeat to France on Saturday.

Even when chasing the game with 10 minutes to go following Aziz Behich's own goal, head coach Bert van Marwijk opted to throw on Daniel Arzani - the youngest player at the tournament - rather than the experienced Cahill.

Former West Ham and Birmingham City winger Lazaridis, who played alongside Cahill at the 2006 finals, had no qualms with Van Marwijk's decision but thinks his old team-mate should be in the starting XI in Samara on Thursday.

"When you're 1-1 with 10 to go and needing some legs, you've probably got one card to play him and you've got to pick a game," Lazaridis told Omnisport and Goal.

"I still feel the right changes were made, Bert van Marwijk coached the team really well and I'd rather have a fresh Timmy for one hour that can go and win us a game rather than chase a game.

"He's a natural goalscorer, he knows where to be. He's not going to get the ball from the halfway line and take players on.

"He's relying on crosses and I think Denmark are the right team to play against so if you get him service in that 18-yard box I still think he's good enough to score a goal.

"Don't expect him to play 90 minutes but if he can play an hour and get a goal..."

Lazaridis believes Cahill will be remembered as arguably the greatest to pull on an Australia shirt, while warning that Thursday's meeting is a must-win encounter for Van Marwijk's men.

"He and [Harry] Kewell have been our best two, [they're] such good players and gave profile to Australia," he added.

"There's been so many that have contributed to our game and at the end of the day Timmy will go down as one of the greatest to play for Australia, alongside Harry.

"People say if you get a point we're still in it but you leave a lot to do to leave it on that and you're relying on other teams, you've got to have it in your own hands.

"Denmark play a similar style to Australia so that will suit us and hopefully Timmy Cahill will play and we'll try and get three points."