Russia 2018 Watch: Spot-on Socceroos hold Danes
PUBLISHED: 16:25 21 June 2018
Read our World Cup blog over the coming weeks. Lane Dias reviews game one on day eight of the tournament
Australia came into today’s game on the back of four consecutive World Cup defeats and knew only a victory would realistically keep their chances of progressing into the knock-out stages alive.
For the Danes, however, a victory would all but clinch their place in the last 16.
Both sides had been involved penalty drama in their opening match with varying outcomes.
Australia were hard done by, with VAR adjudging Antoine Griezmann to have been impeded in the area by full-back Joshua Risdon, despite minimal contact.
Griezmann scored the spot-kick, while the Socceroos were awarded a penalty of their own following Samuel Umtiti’s daft netball impression.
Skipper Mile Jedinak levelled the scores from the spot, but Aziz Behich’s own goal gave the French victory.
Meanwhile, Denmark rode their luck against Peru.
On the stroke of half-time, the Peruvians’ Christian Cueva was caught in the area by the outstretched leg of Yussuf Poulsen.
After review, the penalty was awarded, but Cueva replicated David Beckham’s penalty against Portugal in Euro 2004, to balloon the ball over the bar. Poulsen then went from villain to hero to score the decisive winner.
Ahead of the match, Christian Eriksen had been involved in 17 goals in his previous 14 matches for the Danes and it was scripted just like a Hans Christian Andersen novel, that he would be involved in yet another.
And he was, scoring a terrific half-volley with a sublime strike that lived up to his Tottenham Hotspur training-ground nickname ‘Golazo’.
The former Ajax midfielder is often compared to Danish legend Michael Laudrup and became the first number 10 to score for the Danes since Laudrup in 1998.
Other than their literature and Carlsberg, the Danish are also known for their Lego and Australian chef Adam Liaw was quick to bring that to Twitter’s attention when the goal was scored, saying, “BRB JUST THROWING OUT ALL MY SON’S LEGO… #DENAUS”
However, things were looking up for the Aussies and seven minutes before the interval, they were awarded a penalty by VAR after Poulsen was penalised for hand ball, following a corner.
It was the second consecutive penalty conceded by Denmark and the second by Poulsen in as many matches.
Australia’s Jedinak, who was sporting a fine beard that several kookaburras could have nested in, slotted home the spot-kick – sending Kasper Schmeichel the wrong way.
It was the first goal the Leicester City keeper had conceded for Denmark in nine hours and 32 minutes.
In the second half, Australia brought on 19-year-old Daniel Arzani, who was the youngest player at the tournament, to inspire the side.
And he impressed – albeit for just 25 minutes – as he forced a good save from Schmeichel, who palmed the effort away with three minutes left, as both sides settled for a point apiece.