When Socceroos midfielder Ajdin Hrustic was young, a coach plonked 11 sticks in the ground and tied them up.
Then, the coach planted one stick to the right.
"He said 'what do we have' and no-one knew what he was talking about," Hrustic told reporters.
"One of the boys said there's 12 sticks out there.
"And he said 'no there's 11 sticks, who stick as a team'. And there's a stick which is an individual.
"And 11 sticks is always going to be stronger than one."
Hrustic believes the memory carries significance for the Socceroos ahead of their World Cup encounter against Christian Eriksen's Denmark.
Sure, the Danes have more weapons than Eriksen, regarded among the world's elite playmaking midfielders.
But Hrustic said the Socceroos must focus on themselves, their team as a unit, to prevail in the high-stakes fixture - a winner advances to the knockout stage.
"That is what's going to get us through to the group stages," Hrustic said.
"They (Denmark) are a great side, every team that participates in the World Cup is going to be good.
"I just see us as a family and that's what (coach) Graham Arnold has put into our head since day one.
"All respect to them but ... just because we don't have players at the top leagues doesn't mean we are not good."
Hrustic hopes to play a meaningful role in the crunch game on Wednesday (0200 AEDT Thursday).
The attacking midfielder injured an ankle on October 3 playing for his Italian club Hellas Verona.
"When it first happened, I actually tore the grass up in my hand, I was going 'please no'," Hrustic said.
"I thought it was going to be worse than what it was. Thank God, it wasn't."
After three weeks of cardio exercise to retain fitness, Hrustic started running in a pool "which gave me some kind of hope and joy".
"And when I got out on the pitch, I realised how much I love football," he said.
"You realise how special football is in such a tournament like this.
"I have been in a difficult moment but this has made me stronger ... the sun doesn't always shine.
"That's why I did suffer quite a lot when I did pick up that injury because I really didn't want to miss this World Cup.."
Hrustic entered Qatar still under a cloud and while deemed fit to be used as a substitute for Australia's cup opener against France, given the 4-1 rout he was kept on ice.
But he came from the bench for the last 32 minutes of the Socceroos' 1-0 win against Tunisia.
Australian Associated Press