Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Australia shock Denmark 1-0 to waltz into World Cup last 16

The group champions—led by Poland after two rounds—from Group C will be Graham Arnold's team's next opponent.

Australia defeated Denmark 1-0 in a nail-biting upset on Wednesday to advance to the World Cup’s round of 16 for the first time since 2006. This victory was thanks to Mathew Leckie.

Australia struck on the counter in the 60th minute when Leckie went past the Danish defense and twisted into space before putting the ball home after a scoreless first half in which Denmark looked vibrant and had more control.

Following the world champions’ 1-0 loss to Tunisia, Australia ended second with six points, level with the group’s eventual winners, France. With one point, Denmark was last, and Tunisia was third with four.

The group champions—led by Poland after two rounds—from Group C will be Graham Arnold’s team’s next opponent. Later on Wednesday, the Poles play Argentina in their last group game.

The Australians only made it to the knockout stages once before, 16 years ago, when they lost 1-0 to Italy in the round of 16. Prior to Australia goalkeeper Mat Ryan blocking Jesper Lindstrom’s close-range effort and deflecting Mathias Jensen’s attempt, Denmark had opportunities to grab the lead early in the game.

In the 19th minute, the Australian defense gave Joakim Maehle room on the left and the defender hammered the ball into the box. However, Ryan once more saved Australia by booting the ball away.

Australia started to create opportunities and pose a threat to the Danish defense as forward Duke Mitchell took long-range aim and Riley McGree saw Kasper Schmeichel parry his attempt. At the hour mark, Leckie’s superbly timed run allowed him to send the ball through Maehle’s legs before beating Schmeichel to break the scoreless tie.

Ten minutes later, the referee gave Denmark what they believed to be a lifeline when he gave them a penalty for a foul on Kasper Dolberg. However, it was quickly reversed when the offside flag was raised.

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