Denmark howler leaves World Cup fans in disbelief: 'How on earth'

Andreas Cornelius missed an absolute sitter for Denmark in their disappointing World Cup draw with Group D rivals Tunisia. Pic: Twitter
Andreas Cornelius missed an absolute sitter for Denmark in their disappointing World Cup draw with Group D rivals Tunisia. Pic: Twitter

Denmark's Andreas Cornelius has been savaged on social media after a horrific miss in his side's disappointing World Cup stalemate with Tunisia in Qatar. The Danes - considered dark horses by many football experts to go on a deep run in the tournament, had to settle for a point in the Group D opener against their African rivals.

The other match in the group saw holders France open their World Cup title defence with a resounding win against the Socceroos. Craig Goodwin had given the Aussies a surprise early lead against the defending champions, but the quality of France eventually shone through as Didier Deschamps' men romped to a 4-1 win.

'NOT GOOD ENOUGH': Socceroos in 'awful' scenes at World Cup

'THIS IS SAD': Cristiano Ronaldo in bombshell exit from Man United

France's victory made Denmark's result against Tunisia even more disappointing, but it could have been so much different had Cornelius taken the glorious opportunity that was presented to him midway through the second half.

Brought on as a 65th minute substitute - Cornelius soon found himself at the back post with the goal at his mercy 10 minutes later when Andreas Christensen nodded down a corner that found his Danish teammate unmarked. Cornelius had a glorious chance to break the deadlock, if only he had the composure necessary to take the chance.

In hindsight, the Danish star probably could and should have poked the ball into the back of the net with his boot, but opted instead to try and guide it into the back of the net via a diving header. Unfortunately for Cornelius and the Danes, his contact was poor and the header hit the post and bounced back from centimetres out, leaving fans in disbelief on social media.

Tunisia have never reached the World Cup knockout stages in five previous attempts but Jalel Kadri's side will be encouraged both with their point at Education City Stadium and with how they performed against the more fancied Danes. Since Kadri took charge of the team in January, Tunisia have only lost to Brazil and they frustrated Denmark in front of thousands of noisy North Africans.

Christian Eriksen was largely anonymous on his return to major tournament football after nearly dying on the pitch at the European Championship last year, wilting in the face of ferocious defending. The Manchester United star was the target of a big tackle in the second minute from Aissa Laidouni, who then lept to his feet and egged on the fans to make even more noise and setting the tone for hard battle.

"This is the World Cup. This is not a small competition, it's the most important competition in the world. I think it's important to come on the pitch and show determination, also with the fans we have here in Qatar. It (their support) is amazing and it's also important to show them that we are so determined," Laidouni told reporters.

France thrash Socceroos to go top of Group D

In Group D's other game, the Socceroos were swamped by wave after ominous blue wave of France pressure after Goodwin had given the underdogs a shock ninth minute lead. Harry Souttar's laser long ball from defence was collected by Mathew Leckie on the right flank and he cut inside French defender Lucas Hernandez, before whipping a beautiful cross to Goodwin to lash into the top corner.

Australia could have gone 2-0 up in the 22nd minute when a flying Mitch Duke 20-metre shot just curved right of the net. Five minutes later, however, the tide turned towards France. Adrien Rabiot squared scores with a close-range header from a perfectly weighted ball from substitute Theo Hernandez, who replaced his injured older brother.

Five minutes later, Olivier Giroud put the French 2-1 ahead after a blunder from Australian right-back Nathaniel Atkinson, one of six Socceroos on debut in Doha at the World Cup finals. Atkinson failed to control a routine Jackson Irvine pass and was dispossessed in a twinkling by Rabiot and the ball rolled to the brilliant Kylian Mbappe.

Seen here, France striker Olivier Giroud celebrates after his side's World Cup group win against the Socceroos.
France striker Olivier Giroud scored twice against the Socceroos to equal Thierry Henry's all-time goals record for Les Bleus. Pic: Getty

With an audacious back-heel, he returned possession to Rabiot, who in turn found Giroud unmarked metres from goal. The French went close to scoring four more times in the next 10 minutes before Australia's Irvine, against the flow, bounced a header into the post just before halftime.

After the break, the French rout was completed with accurate headers from the brilliant Mbappe in the 68th minute and Giroud, who just three minutes later equalled Thierry Henry's record for most goals for France, 51.

The Australians next meet Tunisia (Saturday 9pm AEDT) with Denmark (December 1, 2am AEDT) to follow.

the FIFA World Cup 2022 is on SBS and SBS on Demand

with agencies

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.