Denmark edged out Peru thanks to Yussuf Poulsen’s second-half goal to join France on three points in Group C of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.
The Peru fans were out in force in Saransk, making their players feel right at home. Suitably inspired, they dominated the first half but could not make the most of the opportunities they created.
Perhaps the pressure of Peru’s 36-year absence from the world finals weighed heavy on their shoulders, with Christian Cueva missing a penalty just before the break. Playing a more patient game, the Danes were unable to generate any clear-cut chances as the first half ended goalless.
Adopting a more adventurous approach after the restart, Denmark were rewarded when Christian Eriksen’s precise through-ball allowed Poulsen to open the scoring. Though the South Americans piled the pressure on in search of an equaliser, the Danes held firm, with keeper Kasper Schmeichel pulling off some fine stops.
Brimming with confidence, Peru put in a performance that banished memories of their long absence from the world finals. The South Americans created numerous opportunities and missed a golden chance from the spot. Finding themselves a goal behind at the start of the second half, they turned to the talismanic Paolo Guerrero, but not even he could prevent them from falling to a defeat that did not reflect their efforts on the pitch.
Denmark came under a lot of pressure at the start of the match, not least on the right flank, and tried unsuccessfully to bring Eriksen into the game with a series of long balls. Though William Kvist was forced off with injury, they found the goal they were looking for and worked hard to defend it, earning three precious points in the process.
Yussuf Poulsen had a match to remember. As well as being in the right place at the right time to collect Eriksen’s pass and score the only goal of the game, he also defended tirelessly and was Denmark’s hero of the hour.
Hoping to celebrate their World Cup return in style, the Peruvians found luck was not on their side, as their winless run in the competition stretched to seven games.
Australia-Denmark | *Group C | 21 June, Samara (Samara Arena) France-Peru* | Group C | 21 June, Ekaterinburg (Ekaterinburg Arena)