Denmark beat Peru 1-0 in their opening FIFA World Cup Group C game at the Mordovia Arena in the Russian city of Saransk on Saturday. Denmark took lead after 59 minutes through a Yussuf Poulsen goal.
A scoreless first half had ended with Peru’s Christan Cueva missing a penalty on stroke of half-time. Only one penalty in regular time at the 2014 FIFA World Cup was missed. Two have been missed today alone. Lionel Messi also missed a penalty for Argentina against Iceland in their 1-1 draw earlier today.
Peru had the better of the opening 25 minutes and often exposed the Danish right side. However, the Danes slowly awoke and began to find Christian Eriksen in open space in midfield.
Denmark broke the deadlock in the 59th minute with a smart finish from Yussuf Yurary which started with Christian Eriksen with the run and assist after picking up the ball between the lines. 1-0 Denmark.
Peru ramped up the tempo as they fought for an equalizer with veteran talisman Paolo Guerrero providing the magic that Peru need to equalise. He very nearly scored with a clever backheel only to see the ball trickle wide.
The South Americans (Peru) have not qualified for a FIFA World Cup since Spain 1982 (36 years), while Denmark missed out on Brazil 2014. Having these two countries back on the world stage is therefore an event in itself.
Peru came with a late run during the qualifiers with a six-match unbeaten streak at the end, and Los Incas have plenty of quality up front in the shape of Paolo Guerrero, Jefferson Farfan and Edison Flores.
Denmark came into the game banking on the consistency of its team from front to back. They scored 22 goals in their qualifying campaign, conceding nine across ten matches. Star man Christian Eriksen notched 11 of those 22 goals and will be the main playmaker in the team.
Both teams came into this game knowing that three points will help them enormously in their quest to make it out of the group stage, particularly since France are the red-hot favourites in Group C. France defeated Australia 2-1 at Kazan stadium in other Group C match earlier today.
The two teams qualified via the play-offs and are both appearing at their fifth FIFA World Cup. Peru have reached the quarter-finals on two occasions, Denmark just the once.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.