Denmark 1-1 Australia: Jedinak earns deserved point for Socceroos as Danes held

Denmark 1-1 Australia: Jedinak earns deserved point for Socceroos as Danes held

Aston Villa man cancels out Christian Eriksen's early opener via VAR, as honours in Samara end even in Group C

Neil Leverett
DenmarkSchmeichel; Dalsgaard, Kjaer, Christensen, Stryger-Larsen; Schone, Delaney; Poulsen (Braithwaite 59'), Eriksen, Sisto; Jorgensen (Cornelius 68')
AustraliaRyan; Risdon, Sainsbury, Milligan, Behich; Leckie, Mooy, Jedinak; Kruse (Arzani 68'), Rogic (Irvine 82'), Nabbout (Juric 75')
SCOREEriksen (7'), Jedinak (38' pen)
REFEREEAntonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
INCIDENTSWorld Cup Cup 2018 Group C match between Denmark and Australia at the Samara Arena, Samara, Russia

Mile Jedinak's controversial VAR-awarded first-half penalty saw Australia take a point against Denmark as the World Cup Group C clash in Samara ended 1-1.

After Christian Eriksen's eighth-minute classy opener for Age Hareide's men, the Socceroos were the better side for large portions of the game, but needed the help of video referral to score, as Jedinak netted his second penalty of the tournament.

The result leaves both side's chances of progressing to the knockout stages delicately poised.

Early Danish delight   

Prior to the Danes' opening game against Peru on Saturday, talisman Eriksen had a goal-a-minute average of just 98 for his country, and wasted no time in improving on that ratio.

After Lasse Schöne cut out a clearance from the Australian defence, Nicolai Jørgensen collected the ball smartly and turned inside to flick th ball to Eriksen.

As the Spurs man moved on to his left foot, the midfielder caught the ball sweetly on the half volley and rifled the ball past Mathew Ryan high into the net for an eighth-minute lead.

Jørgensen then should have doubled the Danish lead from a near-post header following a cross from a the right, but the Feyenoord striker could only thump his header perilously wide of the Australian boughs.

Bert van Marwijk's men needing to avoid defeat to remain in the tournament, went on the offensive and it was clear that set-pieces were likely to be their greatest source of threat.

VAR strikes again

Indeed on their third corner, Australia were rewarded for their efforts. Matt Leckie won the initial header which hit a Danish hand in the area as hands in green appealed for a spot-kick.

Play continued, before referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz was alerted to view the replay by VAR. The Spaniard was shown footage of Youssef Poulsen with his arm out in the 18-yard-box and without hesitation pointed to the spot.

Jedinak, who had scored against Les Bleus last weekend - as well as netting a hat-trick against Honduras in their World Cup play-off last November stepped and coolly slotted past Kasper Schmeichel as Denmark conceded their first goal in over six hours of play.

The Danes came close to retaking the lead from an Eriksen free-kick but Poulsen failed to get a meaningful connection, as an open first-half came to an end.

Mooy pulls the Socceroo strings

As the second period began, its was Australian who ran the early going in buoyant mood, as Huddersfield Town's Aaron Mooy pulled the strings in midfield for the Socceroos.

The Danes were struggling to find their feet and both Mooy and Leckie were finding space on the flank and able to find the industrious Andrew Nabbout in attack.

Mooy has become renowned for his long-range strikes in recent years, and just as the game entered its' final quarter, unleashed a driven effort right-footed from the edge of the area that whistled inches past Schmeichel's goal.

Embed from Getty Images

Honours even in Samara

As both sides sought a winning goal, the midfield became congested as the two nations went route one looking for some aerial fortune.

Australia, having lost Nabbout to a suspected dislocated shoulder retreated into their shell somewhat desperate not to lose, but forced Schmeichel into a number of regulation saves.The Danes made a late push also, but the contest ended all square.

The result leaves Denmark on four points to Australia's one. Much will depend on France's clash with Peru later on Thursday, with the Danish dynamite set to face off with France next week in the group's final game and the Socceroos to take on Peru.