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Australia vs Denmark. FIFA World Cup Group D.

Al Janoub StadiumAttendance41,232.

Australia 1

  • M Leckie (60th minute)

Denmark 0

    Australia 1-0 Denmark: Mathew Leckie strike seals World Cup last-16 spot as Danes sent packing

    Report as Australia seal runners-up spot in Group D to qualify for World Cup last 16 for only the second time; Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark eliminated after finishing bottom of group with just a single point; Australia will now face Argentina in last 16 on Saturday (kick-off 7pm)

    Mathew Leckie celebrates after giving Australia the lead against Denmark
    Image: Mathew Leckie celebrates after giving Australia the lead against Denmark

    Australia dumped Denmark out of the World Cup after Mathew Leckie's strike earned a 1-0 victory and qualification to the last 16 for the first time since 2006.

    Australia knew a draw would see them join Group D winners France in the knockout stages, providing Tunisia did not beat France, while Denmark had to win to have any chance of progressing.

    Denmark dominated the first period but their inability to score left Australia on course to qualify until Tunisia took the lead against the world champions through Wahbi Khazri.

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    Australia fans celebrated their 1-0 win over Denmark with wild celebrations at 3am as they confirmed a place in the round of 16 in Qatar at the World Cup. Footage courtesy of: SBS Australia.

    That goal moved Tunisia into the runners-up spot in Group D momentarily until Leckie weaved into the Denmark area and finished past Kasper Schmeichel (60) as Australia moved back into second, and a resolute defensive display ensured it was not surrendered.

    Australia will now face Argentina on Saturday (kick-off 7pm), who finished top of Group C after a 2-0 victory against Poland.

    Player ratings

    Australia: Ryan (7), Degenek (6), Souttar (8), Rowles (6), Behich (7), Irvine (6), Mooy (6), Leckie (8), McGree (6), Goodwin (6), Duke (6).

    Subs: Wright (5), Baccus (6), Hrustic (n/a), Maclaren (n/a).

    Denmark: Schmeichel (5), Kristensen (5), Andersen (5), Christensen (5), Maehle (5), Hojbjerg (6), Jensen (6), Eriksen (6), Skov Olsen (6), Lindstrom (6), Braithwaite (4).

    Subs: Bah (6), Damsgaard (5), Dolberg (5), Cornelius (5), Skov (5).

    Player of the match: Mathew Leckie

    How Australia dumped Denmark out to reach last 16

    Big moments in the game...

    • 12 mins: Mat Ryan brilliantly tips Mathias Jensen’s drive from tight angle over the bar
    • 22 mins: Riley McGree’s ambitious volley forces a first save from Kasper Schmeichel
    • 60 mins: Mathew Leckie weaves into Denmark area and scores seconds after news broke of Tunisia taking the lead against France
    • 71 mins: Denmark awarded penalty after Kasper Dolberg is fouled but decision overturned due to offside

    With the Socceroos starting the day in second spot courtesy of their win over Tunisia, the onus to attack was on Denmark. The Danes were initially positive and dominated possession against a team 28 places below them in the FIFA world rankings, only to be frustrated in a forgettable opening period.

    Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan tipped over from Mathias Jensen and unconventionally turned away a dangerous cross from marauding left-back Joakim Maehle, while Christian Eriksen dragged an effort wide.

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    Christian Eriksen goes on the attack against Australia
    Image: Christian Eriksen goes on the attack against Australia

    While Australia remained compact, Middlesbrough's Riley McGree tested Schmeichel during a rare foray forward to show they could cause problems on the counter-attack.

    The pattern of play persisted into the second period before a goal in the other Group D game left both sides in danger.

    Team news

    • Milos Degenek replaced Fran Karacic in Australia’s only change to the team which beat Tunisia on Saturday.
    • Denmark made three changes to the team beaten 2-0 by France as Martin Braithwaite, Andreas Skov Olsen and Mathias Jensen returned.

    News of Tunisia forward Khazri opening the scoring against France appeared to have filtered through to the Al Janoub Stadium just before Leckie latched on to McGree's through ball to race clear and finish with aplomb.

    Denmark needed at least two goals to avoid leaving Qatar early but, with their lack of cutting edge, even an equaliser seemed unlikely.

    Mathew Leckie fires Australia in front against Denmark
    Image: Mathew Leckie fires Australia in front against Denmark

    Australia endured a major scare 19 minutes from time when substitute Kasper Dolberg tumbled in the box before the penalty decision was swiftly overturned.

    The spirited Socceroos, led impressively by Scotland-born centre-back Harry Souttar, defended doggedly and deservedly survived six minutes of added time to upset the Euro 2020 semi-finalists and march on.

    History for Australia - Opta stats

    • Australia have won consecutive World Cup matches for the first time, while progressing from the group stages of the competition for just the second time in six tournament appearances (also 2006).
    • Denmark have been eliminated at the group stages of the World Cup for just the second time (also 2010), while this is the first time they've lost consecutive group stage games at the tournament.
    • Australia are the third team to progress from the first round group stage of the World Cup having both lost and conceded 4+ goals in their opening match of the tournament, after Yugoslavia in 1990 and Ukraine in 2006.
    • Australia have kept a clean sheet in consecutive World Cup matches for the first time. Indeed, they'd kept just one clean sheet in their first 17 matches in the competition before this run.
    • Goalkeeper Mat Ryan both made (39) and completed (24) more passes than any other Australia player against Denmark.

    What the result means

    Australia's second World Cup victory in Qatar sees them finish second in Group D on six points, behind group winners France on goal difference. Denmark's disappointing campaign ends with them bottom of the group with just one point.

    Australia's reward is a last-16 tie against Group C winners Argentina on Saturday (kick-off 7pm).

    What the manager said…

    Socceroos coach Graham Arnold believes the team that battled their way past Denmark and into the World Cup last 16 on Wednesday have a case to be considered the new "golden generation" of Australian football.

    "I'm just so proud of the players, the work ethic, the commitment, the fight that they had and the way they played," Arnold said.

    "I'm just so proud that we've been able to put smiles on people's faces, it's the first time ever an Australian team has won two games in a row at the World Cup.

    "Maybe we're talking about a new golden generation now, because we've been listening and hearing about the golden generation of 2006, who got four points and now we've got six."

    Player of the match - Mathew Leckie

    Mathew Leckie celebrates after putting Australia 1-0 up against Denmark
    Image: Mathew Leckie celebrates after putting Australia 1-0 up against Denmark

    Mathew Leckie scored his 14th goal for Australia in all competitions (first at the World Cup), at least five more than any other player in the Socceroos World Cup squad.

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