Australia’s Mathew Leckie rescues his country in 1-0 victory
They needed a win to get through. Tunisia was pulling a major upset in the concurrent game against France and so Australia pulled one themselves beating dark horses Denmark. The Danes themselves also needed a win as a draw would have let Tunisia through.
And while they got the ball rolling in the opening minutes, it was all for nothing. Lindstrom slid Maehle into space down the left. Maehle whipped a fierce low cross towards Braithwaite at the near post, but Ryan is off his line quickly to claim the first chance confidently.
Denmark were much the livelier side. They were hogging possession and pressing Australia back. Eriksen sliced a delightful diagonal ball towards Kristensen on the right wing. Kristensen earned a corner that comes to nothing, but you’ll not see many better passes.
And once again the Danes continued attacking. Jensen slipped Skov Olsen into a little bit of space down the inside-right channel. Skov Olsen didn’t have much time and scuffed a shot into the arms of Ryan.
The second half, however, would be another chance for the Aussies. By then, they have heard that Tunisia was leading France meaning they had to crank up the pressure, which is exactly what they did.
The first chance of the half was from Leckie who crossed low from the left. Irvine took a first-time swing at the ball and sent it sailing over the crossbar.
And then the goal came that took Aussies to R16. Denmark press forward. But they were intercepted and Aussies broke upfield! McGree sent a pass down the inside-left channel for Leckie, who is in acres, bursting a gut from the halfway line. Leckie twisted Maehle this way and that, before threading a wonderful shot across Schmeichel and into the bottom right!
The Danes continue to be toothless. The little chance they got from Eriksen got wasted again. They continued passing around patiently, which is kind of admirable and yet also not. They worked the ball infield from the right and tee up Cornelius, whose low drive is blocked by the ever-industrious Souttar.
Souttar actually saves Australia two more times in the closing 10 minutes. And, Australia substituted more defenders opting to sit deep and run out the time. With their goal they managed to make the knockout for the second time in their history.