Who: Denmark versus Australia, Group D
Where: Al Janoub Stadium
When: Wednesday, November 30, 18:00 (15:00 GMT)
FIFA rankings: Denmark (10), Australia (38)
Denmark was the black horse for many people at this World Cup. An unfortunate exit from the European championship 2020 semi-finals and a series of impressive results ahead of the World Cup, including victories against France in the Nations League, had caused excitement for the Danish team.
Expectations fell, however, as they were repeatedly bullied and surpassed in their goalless first game against Tunisia. It was an incoherent performance by the Danes, who were struggling to gain a foothold in the game.
On Saturday, they did significantly better against reigning World Champion France, who had to rely on their star striker Kylian Mbappé to save them. Denmark was unlucky to lose the game 2-1 and will be highly motivated to beat an Australian team that could possibly be exhausted after their heroic exploits against Tunisia.
The Socceroos lost their first game 4-1 to France but recovered in their second game and beat Tunisia 1-0 in a spirited performance full of courage and determination.
The Helter-Skelter match was full of passion from both sides. The majority of viewers were behind Tunisia, but the Socceroos showed no fear in the intimidating atmosphere. In the end, a header from Mitchell Duke separated the two teams and gave Australia an energy-draining but morally boosting victory.
Denmark will welcome back their loyal defender Simon Kjaer, who missed the game against France due to injury. But it’s not all good news. Thomas Delaney was excluded from the rest of the World Cup. The player from Seville has been a cornerstone of the Danish midfield for years and has defended the defense. We’re going to miss him.
Denmark and Australia have only scored three goals between them in two games, so a good goal may be scored today. Both teams are defensively organized, and for all their talent, Denmark is missing a world-class striker. Andreas Cornelius, the FC Copenhagen striker, hasn’t made it in this tournament so far and missed a golden opportunity against Tunisia when he inexplicably faced the post at close range.
The two teams met at the 2018 World Cup, with the game ending in a 1-1 draw. Repeating this result would exclude Denmark from the current edition.
Denmark needs a win. If Tunisia also wins its last game against France, it depends on the goal difference. Both the Danes and the Tunisians score four points.
Australia has an easier path. With a win, they would advance to the round of 16, but also a draw should Tunisia lose their game against France.