Australia beat Denmark 1-0 to reach the last 16 of Group D
Australia made it to the last 16 of the Globalism trophy for only the second time in their history with a disappointing 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday.
Winger Matthew Leckie scored the winning goal in an hour with a clever run and ended up ending Denmark’s hopes of Qatar in the group stage.
Australia, who reached the knockout stages in 2006 when they had Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and Mark Viduka, have won back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time.
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They advanced to the knockout stages in second place behind defending champions France in Group D and will play the winners of Group C. Poland is top of that group going into the final round of matches.
This planet has no stars of the past but they make up for it with spirit and hard work, showing flashes of quality in an oddly submissive encounter.
The arms of Australia’s substitutes were around each other’s shoulders to the national anthem before the match, a sign of togetherness that brought them to the brink of knockout.
European semi-finalists Denmark, who had to win to have any chance of qualifying, were on top in the early stages.
Australian defender Milos Degenek, the only change from the team that beat Tunisia 1-0, denied Denmark an almost certain goal with a decisive kick.
Brentford midfielder Matthias Jensen fired hard on goal but was saved by goalkeeper Matthew Ryan in the 11th minute when he should have gone through.
Football captain Ryan was in the thick of it again soon after, frantically stomping the ball after the dangerous Joachim Mehle had made a volley from the left.
Riley McGarry stuns Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel in a rare Australian counter-attack.
Australia were close to coming out on top when a sterile first half bogged down to a goalless score.
Australia and Denmark each made one change at the break and spectators at the Al Janoub Stadium were hoping that would lead to more action in the second half.
Jackson Irvine crossed the crossbar shortly after the restart for Australia and then the shocking news spilled out that Tunisia had a surprising 1-0 lead over a weak France side.
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Denmark coach Kasper Hjolmand had already decided to make a double switch, bringing in striker Kasper Dolberg and attacking midfielder Mikkel Damsgaard.
One minute later, on the hour, Australia took the lead.
Leckie found himself facing Maehle exposed on the left and turned him inside out before hitting the ball into the bottom corner past Schmeichel. Cue the hoopla from the Australian bench.
Denmark thought they had won a penalty in the 70th minute but were out and their World Cup hopes were dashed without much of a fight.
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