Australia stunned Denmark – a team ranked 28 places above the Socceroos in FIFA’s World Rankings – to reach the World Cup knockout stages thanks to a brilliant goal from Mathew Leckie that secured a 1-0 victory.
It had been a tense, scoreless first half, marked by Denmark dominating possession and failing to convert any of its chances in this Group D match.
The tension seemed to percolate through every pass, every shot on goal, every pause in play, and ratcheted up a notch at the beginning of the second half when the news that Tunisia had taken a lead against France in the other Group D match filtered through.
A goalless draw between Australia and Denamrk and a Tunisia win would have put the Carthage Eagles through to the knockout stages.
Just four minutes later, with their World Cup hopes hanging by a thread, the Socceroos counter-attacked from their box and Riley McGree found Leckie on a well timed run.
Leckie then jinked past two Danish defenders and rolled the ball past Kasper Schmeichel into the net, prompting wild celebrations with his team.
Denmark continued to press but Australia hung on in a tense finish to secure its spot in the round of 16.
More to follow…