Denmark took on Australia in the Qatar World Cup group stage in a must-win match, with Manchester United’s Christian Eriksen determined to give his team every chance of making the knockout stages.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Mathias Jensen provided a platform for the Danes in midfield, allowing the United playmaker a free role to drift into pockets of space where his passing could threaten the Australians.
The Socceroos were forced to defend for much of the first half, with Eriksen’s surety in possession a key contribution to Denmark’s domination of the ball.
But the discipline of the Australians made inroads into their penalty area difficult for the Danes, with both teams going into the break goalless.
Eriksen maintained the same level of composure in the second half but perhaps could have been more direct in key moments.
For all of their possession, Denmark went behind after the hour mark, with Matthew Leckie getting the better of Joakim Maehle before slotting past Kaspar Schmeichel.
Eriksen was moved deeper after the introduction of Mikel Damsgaard as the Danes sought to keep their World Cup campaign alive.
His passing remained just as dependable but was no more penetrative as Australia switched to a back five to see out the game.
In the end the only two chances he created were both for Joachim Andersen via corners, each of which went over the bar.
Eriksen ended the matching having had 88 touches, 10 accurate long balls, and a 93% passing accuracy. (SofaScore)
But it was not a performance that the United star will be too happy with, having failed to provide the creative spark that Denmark so desperately needed.
And it was not enough to stop Australia booking their place in the knockout stages of the World Cup at Denmark’s expense.