Valiant Socceroos draw with Denmark

Ben McKay
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Russia Soccer WCup Denmark Australia

Mile Jedinak has scored both of Australia's goals at the World Cup, both from the penalty spot

The Socceroos have fought their way to a 1-1 draw against Denmark, keeping their World Cup flame flickering through to their final match.

Christian Eriksen thumped Denmark ahead after seven minutes but Australia captain Mile Jedinak replied from the penalty spot on 38 minutes for his second goal of the campaign.

The VAR-assisted spot kick was a welcome change in fortune for the Socceroos in Russia after the review system cost Australia a goal in their first-up loss against France.

"Besides the first 15 minutes we played very well and had chances to win and deserved to win," Socceroos coach Bert van Marwijk said.

"So I am disappointed."

To advance from the group stage Australia must defeat Peru, and France must down Denmark - both games are next Tuesday.

If those results eventuate, goal difference between Australia and the Danes will determine which nation joins group winners France, who beat Peru 1-0 on Thursday, in the knockout phase.

Denmark have a plus-one goal difference while Australia is minus-one.

Against Denmark, the Socceroos battled back from an early setback.

Just as they did against France, the unchanged Australian line-up started slowly but in Samara they paid the price when Eriksen's sumptuous seventh-minute volley put the Danes ahead.

Fine lead-up play with Nicolai Jorgensen bamboozled the Socceroos defence, allowing the Tottenham superstar to crash an unstoppable shot past Mat Ryan.

As Australia toiled away in sometimes ugly fashion attempting to create something going forward, Denmark were making it look easy.

A gulf in class appeared evident when Henrik Dalsgaard's superb ball was headed wide by Jorgensen.

It should have been 2-0 but it provoked Australia to step up, probing from different directions.

Robbie Kruse was prominent but lacked sharpness, Tom Rogic found a way into the match and Mat Leckie threatened all match.

Despite Denmark's height superiority, the Socceroos' equaliser came from the air - and last week's bugbear - the VAR.

Leckie headed Aaron Mooy's corner into the hand of Yussuf Poulsen, an incident originally waved away by the referee.

On reflection, he headed to the touchline screen and decided to award the penalty, dispatched by Jedinak.

What followed was an arm wrestle and one the Socceroos were winning, despite attacker Andrew Nabbout's tournament ending when he dislocated a shoulder.

Daniel Arzani came into the game and on his first involvement laid off Mooy to send a vicious shot over.

The teenager left Pione Sisto for dead with an electric turn on the touchline as Australia surged.

Rogic tested Kasper Schmeichel and Arzani made him work with a close range shot as full-time neared.

Schmeichel was at full stretch to deny Leckie from Jackson Irvine's corner as Australia looked for a winner.

It never came, leaving the Socceroos to depart the raucous stadium to a standing ovation but just one point from their two games.