Denmark knocked out of the World Cup

Distinctly average Australian team triumph 1-0 in must-win game

There were some unfamiliar players in the line-up for Denmark against Australia.

And the sad truth is that none of them stepped up to reward the faith shown in them by coach Kasper Hjulmand.

Entrusted with attacking roles, Mathias Jensen, Andreas Skov Olsen and Jesper Lindstrøm all started brightly, but quickly faded.

On another day, their youthful industry might have provided an early breakthrough, as Denmark were dominant in the first 20 minutes.

And they were not helped by some poor decision making from more experienced players like Christian Eriksen and Martin Braithwaite.

Dolberg’s introduction
In the end Hjulmand was forced to bring on two of his talismen from the side’s Euro 2020 heroics: Kasper Dolberg and Mikkel Damsgaard.

And that’s when disaster struck. Dolberg, with his first touch, lost possession in the opponents’ box, and Australia pounced to score on the counter.

To be fair, it was a brilliantly taken goal. And Australia grew in confidence, further threatening the Danish goal on a number of occasions. In the first half they’d barely made it into the Danish box once.

They exposed Denmark’s vulnerability to dribbling – ultimately this is a team bereft of decent tacklers. And by the end, even reliable defenders Joachim Andersen and Andreas Christensen were making routine errors with their distribution.

It was as bad as DR’s commentary, which with ten minutes to go suddenly stopped, first to be replaced by somebody who sounded like they were on a Hercules military plane, before giving way to the broadcaster’s radio coverage at a rate of 120 words per minute.

Well done Australia, but …
Two wins in two games is no fluke. The Australians went man-to-man with Denmark, and they were their equal despite the obvious gulf in class.

Fair play to the Socceroos. They competed for 90 minutes, took a few balls to the face with good grace and deserve their place in the last 16.

But let’s not carried away: they’re still one of the worst teams in the tournament. The incentive to win Group C has suddenly got huge.