World Cup 2018, Denmark vs Australia: Best and Worst players from the match

Australia salvaged a crucial point to keep their hopes alive
Australia salvaged a crucial point to keep their hopes alive

Australia earned a vital point against Denmark in their Group C encounter at the Samara Arena after the teams played out an entertaining 1-1 draw over the course of the 90 minutes.

The Socceroos, who faced the uncompromising wrath of VAR in their last outing against France, were handed a huge favour by the intervention of the same which in turn kept their hopes alive heading into their last game against Peru.

Denmark started the game in sublime fashion and went ahead as early as in the 7th minute when Nicolai Jorgensen's neat link-up play with Christian Eriksen, helped the latter launch a sweet half-volley into the back of the net.

However, Age Hareide's men failed to capitalize on the early lead and slowly allowed Australia to claw their way back into the game.

After a number of interesting forays down both the flanks, Australia were finally rewarded in the 38th minute when the referee made a retrospective decision with the help of VAR to award a penalty after Yussuf Poulsen had allegedly handled the ball inside the area following a header from Mathew Leckie.

Mile Jedinak, who is yet to miss a penalty for both club and country, made no mistake from the spot and restored parity between the two sides. Bert van Marwijk's men grew in confidence in the second half but failed to find the finishing touch that would have helped them secure all three points.

Without further delay, let's take a closer look at some of the best and worst performers from this exciting encounter in Group C:

#5 Best - Henrik Dalsgaard (Denmark)

Dalsgaard was equally good at both ends of the pitch
Dalsgaard was equally good at both ends of the pitch

The full-back was quite easily the pick of the defenders for Denmark during the afternoon and produced a stellar performance at both ends of the pitch. Dalsgaard was solid on the overlap and ventured forward on numerous occasions to provide ample support for his team-mates early on.

The 28-year-old who plays his club football in England's second division with Brentford was somewhat of an unknown quantity heading into the tournament, but he has quickly earned the plaudits for his performances with the national team.

Dalsgaard's delivery into the area was also impressive while he also made a number of crucial interceptions inside his own penalty area to prevent Australia from snatching all three points in the end.

#4 Worst - Robbie Kruse (Australia)

Kruse failed to make an impact yet again
Kruse failed to make an impact yet again

Often termed as everyone's favourite whipping boy, Robbie Kruse failed to do anything noteworthy to rectify his spoiled reputation against Denmark. Apart from having a shot on goal blocked by Andreas Christensen in the first half, the forward mustered very little fortune while going forward.

Part of his poor performance during the game can be credited to the sublime shift produced by his counter-part Henrik Dalsgaard but Kruse failed to pose any sort of challenge to the defender and it was often up to full-back Aziz Behich to try and make something happen down that flank.

All he could do was run ragged and to rub salt into his wounds, Daniel Arzani who replaced him in the 70th minute proved to be a handful for the Danish defenders and looked very effective while going forward.

#3 Best - Christian Eriksen (Denmark)

Eriksen produced a sublime finish to break the deadlock
Eriksen produced a sublime finish to break the deadlock

Perhaps it was not the best goal we've seen at the World Cup this year but there was certainly something special about the way in which Denmark conjured it in the first place.

From Lasse Schone's defence-splitting pass to Nicolai Jorgensen's glorious touch and flick-on to set up Christian Eriksen, it had everything required for a perfect team goal.

The telling touch, however, came from Eriksen's left foot when he dispatched a sweet half-volley to send the ball rising into the back of the net.

The midfielder has been in sublime form over the course of the last 12 months and it took him only 7 minutes to grab his first ever World Cup goal and he did it in sumptuous fashion too.

Eriksen continued to pull the strings in midfield for Denmark but the only reason why he isn't top of this list is simply down to the will and work-rate of the man who tops it.

#2 Worst - Yussuf Yurary Poulsen (Denmark)

Yurary Poulsen gave away the controversial penalty
Yurary Poulsen gave away the controversial penalty

Yussuf Yurary Poulsen grabbed the only goal that helped Denmark pip Peru in their opening encounter, but things did not go according to plan for the striker in a frustrating afternoon at the Samara Arena.

The 24-year-old winger was deployed on the right flank and struggled for prolonged periods whenever he came up against Aziz Behich.

However, the major talking point of the game came when Mathew Leckie's header hit Poulsen's trailing arm inside his own penalty area, and after a few shouts for handball from the Australians the referee finally decided to consult VAR and the penalty was awarded to Bert van Marwijk's side.

Perhaps the decision was a bit harsh, considering the fact that it was a case of ball hitting the arm rather than arm hitting the ball first, but Poulsen had no right to put his hands up in the air, and he will miss the next game due to a suspension he will serve for picking up a second yellow card of the tournament.

#1 Best - Mathew Leckie (Australia)

Leckie worked tirelessly for Australia
Leckie worked tirelessly for Australia

Mathew Leckie was quite easily Australia's best player on the pitch and worked tirelessly on the right flank, running up and down relentlessly, throughout the full 90 minutes.

The winger was involved in the heart of almost every move orchestrated by Bert van Marwijk's side during a compelling afternoon and showed unreal work rate as Australia clawed their way back into the game.

Eventually, it was Leckie's header that awarded the Socceroos with a lifeline after the referee made a retrospective decision to award a penalty in favour of them.

Despite not grabbing a goal or an assist, he was almost unplayable on the night and looked dangerous every time he got a sniff of the ball.

Leckie, who created the highest number of chances for Australia in Brazil four years ago, produced one of his best ever performances in national colours as he weaved in and out on the flanks.

Quick Links

Edited by Akhilesh Tirumala
Be the first one to comment