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Group C wide open as Denmark, Australia settle for draw

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Denmark and Australia settled for a 1-1 draw on Thursday, as this exciting Group C affair had nothing to separate the two nations at the end of 90 minutes.

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As it stands, the Danes lead the group with four points, while Australia earned its first point of the World Cup.

France will meet Peru later on Thursday, with Les Bleus having won its first match and Peru having suffered defeat to Denmark.

The Danes broke through after seven minutes when Nicolai Jørgensen picked out a perfect back-heel pass to Christian Eriksen at the top of the box, before the Tottenham Hotspur attacker volleyed home for a 1-0 lead.

Jørgensen nearly doubled the Denmark advantage in the 24th minute when the 27-year-old had an open header from close range that skewed just wide of the target.

Australia worked its way into the match following the opener, and were awarded a penalty kick in the 37th minute after VAR Mark Geiger altered an initial decision for a handball inside the box.

Mile Jedinak converted the spot kick to level the match at 1-1, giving the Socceroos life.

A dangerous free kick four minutes later almost gave Denmark the lead once again, however, Eriksen couldn’t get a crucial touch on the ball to knock it over the goal line before Ryan collected.

The second half continued with lightning pace from both sides, and Aaron Mooy‘s 71st minute blast came inches away from giving Australia an improbable lead.

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The two nations will conclude Group C play on June 26, as Denmark faces France and Australia takes on CONMEBOL side Peru.

Video: Eriksen volley has Denmark ahead inside 10 minutes

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Denmark is well on its way to another three points on Thursday, and this time it’s Christian Eriksen who has finally broken through at the World Cup.

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Eriksen put the Danes in front in the seventh minute after a tremendous volley that gave Australia goalkeeper Maty Ryan no chance at keeping it out.

After a sloppy turnover in their own half, Australia could only watch as the ball fell to Nicolai Jørgensen, who cleverly back-heeled to Eriksen at the top of the box.

The Danes pulled off a 1-0 victory in their first Group C match against Peru, while Australia fell 2-1 to France.

Schmeichel, Poulsen at center of Denmark 1-0 Peru

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  • Denmark goal: Poulsen (59′)
  • Peru misses penalty
  • Next: Denmark-Australia, Peru-France

Yussuf Yurary Poulsen scored a second half goal and Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel made several critical saves as Denmark smashed and grabbed a 1-0 World Cup win in Saransk on Saturday.

Peru found seemingly every manner of way to miss the goal in a dominant performance.

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Both teams played with an adrenalized tempo in the first 10 minutes, with Yoshimar Yotun whipping a shot to Kasper Schmeichel in the eighth.

Peru was all over Denmark as the match moved on, with Schmeichel very active against Los Incos.

Denmark captain Simon Kjaer made a terrific block on Andre Carrillo in the 29th minute to keep it scoreless.

Peru goalkeeper Pedro Gallese made a terrific stop on Jens Stryger Larsen after Christian Eriksen‘s free kick was blocked by the wall.

The CONMEBOL side was given a penalty kick upon Video Assistant Referee review after Christian Cueva saw his ankle caught by Yussuf Poulsen.

But Cueva made a stuttering, disjointed run-up before blazing his effort over the bar.

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Peru bungled chance to take a 57th lead when Cueva cut a rug through the 18 and laid off for Carrillo, whose shot wasn’t good enough to trouble the net.

They’d regret the miss, as RB Leipzig striker Poulsen raced down the left wing and into the box to carve a shot around Gallese.

Peru nearly equalized off the restart, but Schmeichel made an outstanding save. And Jefferson Farfan couldn’t get on the end of a terrific free kick headed back across the Denmark defense in the 69th.

Poulsen was a defensive hero two minutes later, nodding a cross out of play with Paolo Guerrero lurking at the back post. And Schmeichel stopped Luis Advincula a minute after that.

Guerrero nearly spun a backheel effort inside the far post in the 79th. Peru deserved an equalizer, but would it find one. Schmeichel denied Farfan again in the 84th.

A mostly quiet Eriksen was stymied by Gallese soon after the Schmeichel stop. We say mostly…

Saturday int’l friendly previews: Denmark vs. Mexico, Hungary vs. Australia

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World Cup squads continue to warm up with just a week to go before the big dance, and there is another full slate of games on Saturday.

France hosts the United States as Didier Deschamps’ squad faces its final test before departing to Russia, while the USMNT has its last of a three-game international break that’s seen a number of young faces get invaluable playing time. Check out the full preview of France vs. United States here.

Elsewhere in the world…

Denmark vs. Mexico

Both these teams have aspirations of reaching the knockout stage, so this should be quite a good test for both teams as to where they stand heading into the tournament. Denmark will need to beat Peru in group stage play, a team that plays a relatively similar style to Mexico. El Tri, meanwhile, has two European sides in its group in the form of Germany and Sweden.

More is riding on this match for Denmark, as they have truly struggled to score of late. In their last five matches, they’ve scored three goals, including a pair of 0-0 draws their last two times out. With nobody else to support Christian Eriksen, it’s been relatively simple for opposing teams to lock down the creative force. Can Age Haride figure out how to give his talisman some help?

Mexico, meanwhile, is incredible defensive form. El Tri has conceded just a single goal over five matches in the 2018 calendar year. It hasn’t been terribly pretty up front, but it’s not exactly cause for alarm just yet.

Hungary vs. Australia

Australia downed a struggling Czech Republic 4-0 last time out, and the Socceroos would head into the World Cup with a serious barrel of confidence if they can achieve a similar result against Hungary. 27-year-old Matthew Leckie scored a pair in that win, and the Hertha winger will prove an important piece to any potential Australia success.

It’s the opposite across the field, where Hungary comes into their final tuneup with just three wins to eight losses in 12 matches since the start of the 2017 calendar year. They’ve dropped game to Kazakhstan and Scotland so far in 2018, most recently playing to a 1-1 draw against lowly Belarus. Manager Georges Leekens has yet to pick up a win since taking over in November, and things aren’t looking up for the National Eleven.

Sweden vs. Peru

Peru is one of the more intriguing sides in the entire 2018 World Cup, and a win over fellow participant Sweden would be a stellar sendoff to the big dance. With captain Paolo Guerrera back in action and needing minutes, look for him to at least make an appearance for the South American side.

[ MORE: 2018 World Cup dark horses ]

Sweden, however, has won just once since topping Italy in their UEFA qualification playoff match. A drab scroeless draw with Denmark did little to quiet the doubters heading into the World Cup, and staring down a tough group with Mexico, Germany, and South Korea, a win over Peru would go a long way towards renewing confidence in the side.

Serbia vs. Bolivia

The Serbian squad desperately needs playing time together, and these 90 minutes will be as important as any. Manager Mladen Krstajic has brought in a number of talented players who haven’t spent much time on the pitch together, and while there’s plenty of excitement surrounding striker Aleksandr Mitrovic, midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and winger Adem Ljajic, the trio have very little game time together in the past few years due to the banishment of the latter pair under previous management.

[ MORE: Serbia World Cup preview ]

SMS in particular has just three caps to his name despite a heaping of potential, and has played just 45 minutes of national team time in 2018. Look for him to see his first full 90 minutes since his international debut in early November.

Tunisia vs. Spain

With Germany sputtering to a 2-1 win over Saudi Arabia today, Spain will want to bounce back from a shaky 90 minutes of their own as they visit Tunisia. A first-choice Spain squad drew 1-1 with Switzerland in their last match on Sunday, where they held 65% and popped off 18 shots but managed just a single goal. The top teams aren’t exactly convincing in the last few weeks, but that could be down to experimentation more than anything else.

Israel vs. Argentina

Argentina’s last two years have been a roller coaster ride, there’s no debating. In their last four matches alone, they’ve demolished Haiti 4-0 and passed Italy 2-0, but also lost to Nigeria 4-2 and were stomped by Spain 6-1. A comprehensive and convincing win over Israel would be a good way to enter World Cup play, but there’s no skirting around the fact that Argentina is more of a wild card in the 2018 tournament than they have been in quite some time. Will manager Jorge Sampaoli haul out a strong starting eleven against Israel, or will he rest the starters and put health above all else? He has a lot to sort out, that’s for sure.

2018 World Cup team preview: Denmark

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Getting to know Denmark: EURO 1992 and 1995 Confederations Cup champions, Denmark’s best World Cup run came soon after: a quarterfinal appearance at the 1998 tournament.

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The Danish Dynamite has qualified for every other World Cup from 2002 to 2018, and will be hopeful of advancing to the knockout rounds.

For more history on Denmark, click here.

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What group are they in? C


Game schedule – Group C – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Saturday, June 16: Peru v Denmark,  Saransk Noon ET
Thursday, June 21: Denmark v Australia, Samara 8 a.m. ET
Tuesday, June 26: France v Denmark, Moscow 10 a.m. ET


Projected lineup (4-3-3) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full

—– Schmeichel —–

— Stryger Larsen — Kjaer — Boilesen — Knudsen

—- Schone —- Delaney —-

Eriksen

—- Poulsen —-Jorgensen—- Sisto —-


Star player: Christian Eriksen — This is a true moment for Tottenham Hotspur’s 26-year-old, very much in his prime. The 77 times capped attacking midfielder with 21 international goals will be the unrivaled focus of the opposition’s defense. Will he cement his status as a Danish legend?


Manager: Åge Hareide – The 64-year-old former Norway boss and Man City/Norwich City player will oversee the biggest tournament of his career. He’s won league titles with Brondby, Malmo, and Rosenborgs.


Secret weapon: Pione Sisto — With respect to Kasper Schmeichel in net, who hardly seems a secret, and Nicolai Jorgensen, the center forward, Sisto may actually creep up on some people. The 23-year-old Celta Vigo forward is coming off a four-goal, 10-assist campaign. Though his production waned late in the season, he should feel buoyed by the big stage.


Prediction: E