Danes denied spot kick in Tunisia Cup draw

Australia's World Cup group rivals Denmark and Tunisia have fought out a goalless draw, with the African side surviving a dramatic stoppage-time VAR penalty check.

Danish substitute Andreas Cornelius also hit the post, while Tunisia themselves wasted two clear chances in their World Cup opening stalemate at Education City Stadium on Tuesday.

Tunisia were roared on by their sizeable following in the 42,925 crowd, whose deafening whistles and roars gave energy to their side and helped secure what had seemed an unlikely point before kickoff, despite the fact they are unbeaten in nine of their last 10 internationals.

Denmark thought they should have had a penalty in stoppage time for handball that was checked at the VAR screen by referee Cesar Arturo Ramos, but he instead - surprisingly - gave a free kick to Tunisia for a foul in the build-up.

Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri said his heart sunk as Ramos was called over to consult the VAR screen, sure he'd award the penalty.

"I can't put into words my feelings at that moment but you can imagine it well," he said.

"But today it was in our favour and this is what football is all about. VAR decisions have to be respected."

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand was critical of his team, saying: "We played too nervously and too slow, and we didn't find ourselves in the first half.

"There was a period when we got into it but we were never calm and comfortable, that came later in the game. There's no doubt we played under par.

"Qualifying from the group has become complicated but it's not over ... our heads would have been a little higher with a better result."

Both sides may look at it as two points dropped, but Tunisia will certainly be the happier given the low level of expectation place on them - from outside their camp at least - going into the tournament.

They will face Australia next on Saturday, a game they will have targeted as their most winnable in the group, while Denmark meet defending champions France behind the points tally they would have set themselves at this stage.

Tunisia played with a tempo they will find hard to maintain through the group stages, but were good value for their point and showed a resilience that will be pleasing for coach Jalel Kadri.

Denmark would have hoped to create more chances, but their best came late in the second half when Cornelius only had to nod the ball over the line at the back post, but instead flicked it onto the woodwork.

Tunisia's first chance fell to Denmark-based Issam Jebali when he found himself one-on-one with Kasper Schmeichel, but could not beat the goalkeeper, who made an excellent, instinctive save.

The second saw Aissa Laidouni race clear from his own half, but as he approached the Denmark penalty area, he hesitated and opted for a pass that was not on.

The Tunisians had a chance when Mohamed Drager's 25-metre shot deflected off defender Andreas Christensen and went just wide with Schmeichel rooted to the spot.

Christian Eriksen, in his first major international tournament after suffering a cardiac arrest at the European Championships, pulled the strings for the Danes but they struggled at times to get him onto the ball.

When he did find a pocket of space just outside the Tunisian box, his shot was well saved by goalkeeper Aymen Dahmen.

Hjulmand will be left sweating on a knee injury to midfielder Thomas Delaney that forced him off in the first half.