Denmark and Australia battled to a hard fought 1-1 draw in Group C of the World Cup in Samara on Thursday.
A Christian Eriksen thunderbolt put Denmark 1-0 up after just seven minutes before Mile Jedinak evened it up with VAR assisted penalty after 38 minutes. Both teams fought hard to create chances in the second half without finding the crucial winner.
The result means Denmark are on four points after their two matches with Australia on just one.
Here are our talking points from the match.
What a goal by Christian Eriksen on the half volley. And that assist by Jorgensen 👌 pic.twitter.com/7EoNRpccWA— InterYaSkriniar 🇧🇷🏴🇳🇬 (@InterYaSkriniar) June 21, 2018
Eriksen goal arguably the best of World Cup so far
Denmark’s first goal was indeed Danish Dynamite and probably the best goal of the tournament to date.
It came from nothing with Aaron Mooy heading the ball out of the danger area only to see it knocked back in speculatively by Ajax midfielder Lasse Schone.
Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgenson got two superb touches on the edge of the box to lay it in the path of Tottenham star Christian Eriksen who hit the half-volley with a snarling left foot strike that cannoned into the back of the net.
The goal was a knife through the heart of Australia who had started brightly but already staring down the barrel of exiting the tournament after their loss to France, it gave Bert van Marwijk’s side a mountain to climb.
The Socceroos fought back through a penalty to Mile Jedinak but the draw may not be enough to earn them a path to the round of 16.
Australia competitive but in the end caution cruelled their chances
There was very little between the sides with the 36th ranked Australia more than matching the 12th ranked Danes.
But what the Socceroos missed was a little more killer instinct in front of goal. Time and time again Australia got into good positions and sent some tempting balls skimming across the six yard box, but time and time again there was no one to meet them.
You can understand the caution of manager Bert van Marwijk not wanting to leave his side open to the dangerous Danes but to put themselves back in with a chance of making the knockout stages this was a match Australia had to win.
With Daniel Arzani coming off the bench on 67 minutes to ask some real questions of the Danish defence, the introduction of experienced goal poacher Tim Cahill might have been just what Australia needed to get the winner.
But instead the cautious Van Marwijk went for Hull midfielder Jackson Irvine who was hardly noticeable and not surprisingly failed to produce the winner.
Beat Peru and you can go through. You would have taken that option at the start of the World Cup. Sensational performance @Socceroos ... fitness ✅ effort ✅ underdog ✅ arzani ✅ ✅ ✅— Jonathon Lance (@jonno_lance) June 21, 2018
It’s not over till its over
Despite just one point from two matches Australia’s World Cup is not over – yet. No matter what the result of the France-Peru match later on Thursday Australia can still reach the knockout stages, depending on results on the final day of matches in Group C.
What makes the group so close is the lack of goals with Denmark boasting a 2-1 (+1) goal difference and Australia a 1-2 (-1) .
Australia play Peru in their last match and a win for the Socceroos by two goals, taking them to +1, and a loss for Denmark by even one goal against France (seeing them slip to an even goal difference) would see Australia through to the last 16.
Permutations get even more interesting if France lose or draw against Peru today further increasing Australia’s chances of reaching the last 16 for the second time in their history.
In Group C there is still lots to play for.
Australia named an unchanged side as they looked to pick up their first points of the 2018 World Cup from their Group C clash against Denmark.
The Socceroos were narrowly beaten 2-1 by France in their opener but coach Bert van Marwijk resisted the temptation to make alterations – meaning Tim Cahill once again started on the bench.
Denmark, who started with a 1-0 success against Peru, made one enforced change in Samara as Lasse Schone came in for the injured William Kvist.
Victory for Denmark could see them secure a spot in the knockout stages if Peru fail to beat France later on Thursday.
Spain coach Fernando Hierro has warned his players to take nothing for granted despite a 1-0 win over Iran which puts them on the brink of qualifying for the World Cup knockout stages.
Diego Costa’s fortuitous 54th-minute strike proved enough to see off the Iranians and means Spain will guarantee a top-two finish in Group B if they take a point off already-eliminated Morocco.
But Hierro insists the problems posed by Iran – who thought they had equalised only for Saeid Ezatolahi’s effort to be ruled out by the video assistant referee – indicate there can be no guarantees in Russia.
Hierro said in the post-match press conference: “I think there are 32 great teams here at this World Cup and no-one is giving anything away, so anyone who thinks it is going to be very easy to score and win by a landslide is wrong.
“In some groups two teams have already qualified, but our group is very tough. Morocco lost 1-0 to Portugal but they were fighting to the end.”
Hierro acknowledged his own team will need to improve after they allowed themselves to grow frustrated with Iran’s dogged defensive performance until Costa’s timely breakthrough.
“As a 23-man group we are very committed – we are one team and that is how we will play until the end,” added Costa. “We know we still need to improve but hopefully as we do that we will keep winning.”