If Australia are to have any hope of beating Denmark in their World Cup clash on Thursday they will have to shackle Christian Eriksen, who acts as their architect and executioner.
Chance: Leckie hit a volley following a good cross from the left but he couldn't connect with the ball properly. Despite him not hitting the ball perfectly, the ball was going into the top corner after hitting the ground once. But goalkeeper Schmeicel was up for it and caught the ball out of thin air. 2 mins of regulation time left to be played now.
Daniel Arzani dekes Pione Sisto on the end line, lifts his head, and powers a pass across the face of goal! Kasper Schmeichel lunges toward the ball, but misses terribly leaving the net wide open. Two Aussie players await the cross, but a bad clearance by Henrik Dalsgaard is enough to prevent the Socceroos from grabbing the lead. Five minutes left to be played in second half.
Glorious Chance: What a chance for Australia after Kasper Schmeichel comes out of his net and mishits a punch! The ball fell to Mathew Leckie who had no angle at the open net, so he instead decided to swing the ball to the far post hoping to find a teammate. Robbie Kruse is there, but Henrik Dalsgaard reaches the ball first and blasts a high clearance out of bounds for a corner kick.
A corner kick is delivered to the far side of the area by Christian Eriksen and is then redistributed into the middle of the danger area by Lasse Schone. The headed pass hangs in the air for a long time to scare the Australian fans, though their defense is capable as the Socceroos nod the ball out of the box to deny any further opportunities.
Half-time: That is the half-time whistle folks and the players make their way back inside their respective dressing rooms. Following an electric start by Denmark, Australia came back strongly into the match and leveled it as well. It has been a great half of football so far and fans will be expecting more of the same in the next 45.
Christian Eriksen rockets in a cross off of a free kick that navigates its way through a mess of legs to the far post only to be met by Trent Sainsbury. The Aussie is obviously caught off guard, accidentally sending the ball toward his own goal, but Mathew Ryan reads the situation perfectly and makes a goal line save to prevent an own goal.
Tom Rogic threads a pass through the opposing back line that sends both Aziz Behich and Robbie Kruse into the area to chase it down. The pass appears perfectly weighted, but Simon Kjaer is able to intervene and clear it off of Kruse and out for a goal kick. 20 minutes have been played and Denmark still lead 1-0
The Tottenham Hotspur play-maker has become so pivotal for Denmark that his moments of game-changing brilliance have become almost routine. He has had a hand in 17 goals in his last 14 appearances for his country, finding the net himself 12 times. That would be an impressive haul for a striker, let alone a midfielder whose eye for a pass is as acute as his predatory instinct in the box. Denmark beat Peru 1-0 in their opening Group C game and while Eriksen spent much of the encounter on the periphery, he still managed to conjure a solitary moment of brilliance that led to the only goal. If Australia have a plan in place to deal with Eriksen, who joined Tottenham from Ajax Amsterdam in 2013, then their coach Bert van Marwijk was not letting on in his news conference on Wednesday. "You can ask me those questions 100 times – I know Eriksen because I already saw him a lot in Holland, and I saw him also a lot of times in Tottenham," was all the Dutchman had to say when pressed on his intentions to deal with Denmark's chief threat.
Australia's Aziz Behich, however, was more forthcoming and said they had no plans in place for any individuals and were focusing on themselves. That could prove a risky tactic against a player who was joint third-top scorer in European qualifying with 11 goals, behind established forwards Robert Lewandowski (16) and Cristiano Ronaldo (15). Denmark, on the other hand, are fully aware that Eriksen is the jewel in their crown, and will look to get him on the ball whenever they can, knowing victory will send them into the last 16 if Peru fail to beat France in the other Group C game. "He is a very important player for us, no doubt about that. He is a player who can change the match for us and so we try and get him involved as much as we can," Denmark coach Age Hareide told reporters. "The opponents are going to be very cautious about him. He is used to that in the Premier League and... we have seen he can succeed nevertheless."
Denmark (4-3-3): Kasper Schmeichel; Henrik Dalsgaard, Simon Kjaer (capt), Andreas Christensen, Jens Stryger Larsen; Thomas Delaney, Lasse Schoene, Christian Eriksen; Yussuf Poulsen, Nicolai Joergensen, Pione Sisto
Coach: Age Hareide (NOR)
Australia (4-2-3-1): Mathew Ryan; Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury, Mark Milligan, Aziz Behich; Mile Jedinak (capt), Aaron Mooy; Mathew Leckie, Tom Rogic, Robbie Kruse; Andrew Nabbout
Coach: Bert van Marwijk (NED)
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