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Little hope of advancing for Australia
after a 1-1 draw against Denmark   

SAMARA Russia (Xinhua) -- Conceding a 1-1 draw after a fruitless second half of attacking endeavours against Denmark on Thursday, Australia was left with hope of progressing from Group C only if they manage to defeat Peru in five days.

With a line-up of six players having a stature of 190cm and above, Denmark was barely taken advantage of by the Australians from the air, after the kickoff whistle was blown. At the same time, the Danes manifested good performance on the ground in terms of skills and agility.

Seven minutes into the game, Nicolai Jorgensen got the ball in the box, before he passed it with the outside of his boot to the unmarked trailing Christian Eriksen. The Tottenham midfielders thrilling left-footed half-volley gave the Danes a 1-0 lead.

Australia soon restored from the early blow. By taking control of the midfield, the Aussies managed to press their opponents.

Thirty minutes later, Mathew Leckies header from a corner kick cross hit the sprawling arm of Yussuf Yurary Poulsen. After applying to the on-field review system, the referee pointed to the 12-foot mark and booked Poulsen, who will miss the next match against France as a consequence.

Mile Jedinak calmly converted the the fifth penalty awarded after a VAR review in the tournament, while the Danish goal keeper Kasper Schmeichel was sent to the wrong side. The captains equaliser lit up the enthusiasm of over 12,000 Australian fans in the arena.

After switching sides, the Australians obtained the momentum gradually, and kept constant pressure on Denmark, thanks to substitutes off the bench including the dynamic 19-year-old Daniel Arzani, who is the youngest player of this World Cup.

On the other hand, the Danes tried to counterattack with sporadic efforts, relying on attacking prowess of a couple of individuals including Eriksen and Pione Sisto on the left wing.

However, after several unfruitful waves of attacking attempts, Australia conceded a draw, which leaves them no choice but to extract three points from the next match against Peru, in order to preserve a possibility to progress to the knock-out stage.

“I am disappointed and proud just as when I sat here after the match against France, I really think we should have had four points from two games, what we miss is the last piece of the puzzle,” Australia coach Bert van Marwijk said. “We only have to concentrate on the match with Peru.”

“The (Australian) players are good, well organised, hard to breakdown, France was lucky beating them 2-1, and I’m really happy we have four points, “ Denmark coach Age Hareide said.

Hareide, however, was concerned that the VAR had moved some charm of football.

“I do believe it was a penalty, the whole issue with VAR is that there are people somewhere in Russia deciding to look at the situation because it looks like a penalty,” Hareide.

“There are other situations of the match, they should really have stopped and looked at what happened, but they are not doing that, so who decides, is the referee on the pitch, or people sitting in the dark room somewhere else,” he added.

In the last round of group stages, Denmark will play France on June 26, while the showdown between Australia and Peru is to kickoff simultaneously.

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