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Australia book last-16 spot at World Cup with win over Denmark

Australia book last-16 spot at World Cup with win over Denmark

Australia‘s 1-0 victory over Denmark in their third match in Group D has seen them advance to the last-16 stage of the World Cup alongside the holders France.

Mathew Leckie scored the only goal of the contest in the 60th minute, and the result left the Socceroos in second spot in the section, two points ahead of third-placed Tunisia, who incredibly beat France 1-0.

Australia have advanced to the round of 16 for just the second time in their history, while Denmark have been eliminated in the group stage of a World Cup for just the second time.

As Group D runners-up, Graham Arnold‘s side will take on the winners of Group C in the next stage, which could potentially be Argentina.

Australia had a half-chance in the third minute when Riley McGree broke forward before striking one outside the Denmark box, but Andreas Christensen was on hand to make an important block.

Denmark’s first serious opportunity came in the 11th minute when Mathias Jensen broke into a wide area, but the midfielder’s effort was kept out by the diving Mathew Ryan in the Australia goal.

Andreas Skov Olsen then fired over the crossbar shortly after, before Kasper Schmeichel kept out an effort from Mitchell Duke down the other end of the field.

Denmark's Jesper Lindstrom in action with Australia's Milos Degenek at the World Cup on November 30, 2022© Reuters

Christian Eriksen then dragged one wide of the Australian post in the 29th minute during a period when Denmark were threatening to make the breakthrough.

Australia were also carrying a threat down the other end, with Schmeichel having to keep out a strike from Duke in the 42nd minute, but the two teams entered the half-time interval at 0-0.

Australia had another chance in the 48th minute when Jackson Irvine was found inside the Denmark box, but the midfielder scooped his effort over the crossbar.

The Socceroos did take the lead on the hour, though, when Leckie raced onto a clever pass from McGree before working the space and expertly picking out the bottom corner of the net.

The referee pointed for a Denmark penalty 20 minutes from time when Kasper Dolberg went down inside the penalty box, but the offside flag came to Australia’s rescue.

Australia were dropping deeper and deeper as the second period approached its latter stages, but Denmark’s lack of quality made it relatively comfortable for Arnold’s side.

Harry Souttar was brilliant for the Socceroos in the latter stages, with the centre-back making a number of important clearances, while Alexander Bah missed a late half-chance for Denmark.

Ryan also had to stand strong under pressure late on, while Andreas Cornelius headed over in the final moments, with Australia keeping a clean sheet to secure the victory that they needed to advance to the round of 16 courtesy of a record of two wins and one defeat from their three games in the section.

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