Another Schmeichel performance to savour as Denmark win World Cup opener – The Post

Another Schmeichel performance to savour as Denmark win World Cup opener

A well-taken goal by Yussuf Poulsen earns a 1-0 win against Peru

Yussuf Poulsen got the only goal of the game (photo: DBU Facebook page)
June 16th, 2018 8:15 pm| by Ben Hamilton

Some 26 years on from the final of Euro 1992, this was another performance by the Schmeichel family to savour.

Peter Schmeichel’s son Kasper wrote himself into Danish World Cup fokelore with a man of the match performance between the sticks as Denmark held on to beat a creative Peru side 1-0.

Peru start strong but can’t capitalise
Peru started like the side that memorably beat Scotland at the 1978 World Cup finals, but then emerged for the second half more like the team that capitulated 6-0 to Argentina in the second round group phase – nearly a decade later it was confirmed its government was bribed by the Argentine junta to arrange the pasting.

A penalty ballooned over the bar by Christian Cueva in the final minutes of the first-half meant Peru didn’t have the lead their performance deserved. Not only did they create plenty of chances, passing Danish players at will, but they also kept a somewhat unimpressive Danish attack easily at bay.

Denmark turn the screw 
The second half was a different matter, however, and when Denmark scored, it followed a period of dominance that deserved a goal.

Yussuf Poulsen, the player who conceded the penalty, which was only awarded thanks to a VAR consultation, was slipped in by Christian Eriksen – one of many who disappointed in the first half – and he coolly slotted it past the keeper knee-high into the bottom left.

Peru rally in vain
In response Peru bought on their talisman and national team captain Paolo Guerrero, and he nearly scored with a glorious backheel that had Schmeichel beaten.

The bulk of Peru’s second half chances fell to Jefferson Farfan, and the best came in the 84th minute when he was found by a pulled-back pass in acres of space just 10 metres out.

His connection was solid enough, but Scheimechel had the presence of mind to block the shot with his feet, practically tackling a team-mate in the process.

Deserved to lose
It was a sublime save that secured all three points for Denmark from a game many observers feel they probably deserved to lose.

Like Cueva, Farfan will look back at this result with particular regret as between them they contrived to throw away their side’s hopes of victory.