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30 Nov, 2022 18:02

Australia stun Denmark to qualify for World Cup knockout stages

The FIFA World Cup produced another couple of shock results on Wednesday
Australia stun Denmark to qualify for World Cup knockout stages

A single goal from Mathew Leckie was enough for Australia to shock the not-so-great Danes in their Group D clash on Wednesday, ensuring that the Socceroos move to the knockout stages of a FIFA World Cup for the first time in 16 years. 

Denmark, who needed three points to secure their own passage to the last 16 in Qatar, enjoyed the lion's share of possession throughout but struggled to break down a stubborn Aussie rearguard, and ultimately resorted to a barrage of late, long and diagonal balls as the second ticked away to what would become a famous Australian win.

The crucial goal came on the hour when Melbourne City winger Mathew Leckie put the finishing touches on a swift Australian counter-attack to slide the ball past a helpless Kasper Schmeichel to give his side what would prove to be an unassailable advantage.

I’m proud, exhausted, everything. Hard to describe the emotions right now, we always believed as a group we could do it,” said Leckie afterwards, a man who will no doubt never have to pay for a beer in his hometown ever again.

We had our doubters but with our spirit, our belief, our work ethic and how close we are as a group, it shows on the pitch. That last 15-20 minutes, we battled until the end and it didn't matter what they threw at us, we weren’t conceding.”

The win was Australia’s second in Group D and sees them finished in second place behind France, who themselves were on the receiving end of another of the tournament’s surprise results when they lost to Tunisia, also by a single goal to nil. 

Tunisia captain Wahbi Khazi’s clever second-half finish proved to be the difference between the two sides in a result which will come as a significant silver lining to their elimination from the tournament. 

France looked to have equalized in the ninth minute of stoppage time but Antoine Griezmann’s late effort was ruled out by VAR to the delight of a raucous Tunisian crowd.

It will be the Danes, though, who head home with their tails firmly entrenched between their legs after finishing bottom of a Group D which promised so much - with a presumed inquest into their abject failure awaiting them in Copenhagen.

Something truly is rotten in the state of Denmark. 

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