Kasper Schmeichel, Denmark Hold off Peru for 2018 World Cup Win

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IJune 16, 2018

Denmark's forward Yussuf Poulsen (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group C football match between Peru and Denmark at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk on June 16, 2018. (Photo by Jack GUEZ / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - NO MOBILE PUSH ALERTS/DOWNLOADS        (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
JACK GUEZ/Getty Images

Denmark opened up their FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign with a 1-0 win over Peru on Saturday at the Mordovia Arena in Saransk, Russia.

Yussuf Poulsen scored the winner after good work from Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen on 59 minutes.

The win means Denmark join France at the top of Group C on three points after the opening round of fixtures. Peru and Australia are without a point and have their work cut out if they are to progress to the knockout stages.


Heroic Schmeichel Proves He Can Carry Denmark's Hopes

Denmark were far from their best against Peru, but goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel simply would not be beaten.

The Leicester City man repelled everything thrown at him, and he had plenty to do. Squawka Football showed how he set a new record during the match:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Most consecutive minutes without conceding for the Denmark national team: Peter Schmeichel: 470 minutes (1995) Kasper Schmeichel: 471 minutes and counting (2017-present) Like father, like son. 👨‍👦 https://t.co/lrpG30hDmB

He made a fine save from Edison Flores on the hour mark and followed it up with another brilliant block on the line from Jefferson Farfan after 83 minutes.

Peru looked the better team and will rue the many chances they missed, particularly Christian Cueva, who blazed a penalty over the bar.

The win gives Denmark a good chance of qualifying for the knockout stages, and in Schmeichel they have a solid foundation on which they can build their hopes of going deep into the tournament.


Peru Have The Right Approach But Must Be More Clinical

Peru are at the World Cup finals for the first time in 36 years, and they seem determined to make the most of it.

Ricardo Gareca's pacy side took the game to Denmark and were certainly not afraid to shoot on sight.

Squawka Football showed their attacking intent:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Seven of Peru's 10 outfield players attempted a shot in the opening 30 minutes v #DEN. 5': Advíncula 8': Yotún 11': Flores 13': Carrillo 14': Tapia 15': Rodríguez 29': Farfán This is why #PER are a team to watch at this #WorldCup. 🚀 https://t.co/sBt7PYBcBG

Football writer Matteo Bonetti offered his view of the game:

Matteo Bonetti @TheCalcioGuy

This isn’t a case of Denmark sitting back and playing organized, wonderful defense ala Iceland. Peru should have four goals already, cutting through this defense like a knife through soft danish butter. This is so damn unlucky.

Andre Carrillo and Cueva caused their opponents all sorts of problems with their direct running.

Cueva had the best chance to open the scoring just before half-time when Peru were awarded a penalty. However, the forward stuttered in his run up and then blasted an awful effort way over the crossbar.

It was to prove a costly miss, and Peru must be more clinical if they are to have any chance of qualifying.


Eriksen Can't Do It All By Himself For Denmark

Eriksen is Denmark's talisman, and his influence on the team is huge.

He proved integral again, setting up Poulsen for the opening goal with a superb pass that left the striker with only the goalkeeper to beat.

Football writer Ben Pearce was impressed with Eriksen's contribution:

Ben Pearce @BenPearceSpurs

Nice pass from Eriksen. Perfectly weighted.

Squawka Football highlighted just how vital he is:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Christian Eriksen has been directly involved in 13 of Denmark's last 19 goals: 🅰️🅰️✖️⚽️✖️⚽️✖️🅰️⚽️⚽️✖️⚽️⚽️⚽️✖️✖️🅰️⚽️🅰️ #DEN's main man at it again. https://t.co/JKPTliuziD

It was one of Denmark's rare forays forward, and Eriksen could have doubled their lead late on, but he saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.

Eriksen is clearly the key to Denmark's hopes, but they will need more from their other attacking players to make a real impact on the tournament.


VAR Proving Its Worth

The use of video assistant referees continues to provoke debate, and it was called into use again on Saturday when Peru were awarded a penalty in an incident initially missed by the referee.

Poulsen appeared to catch Edison Flores with his trailing leg, but play continued. VAR then intervened, and referee Bakary Gassama awarded the spot-kick.

TV presenter Gary Lineker offered his view:

Gary Lineker @GaryLineker

VAR penalty and rightly so. Clear and obvious. 👍🏻

Peru will feel hard done by at the result after creating far more chances than Denmark, but neither team can have any complaints about VAR's involvement.


What's Next

Both teams return to World Cup action on Thursday. Denmark take on Australia, who were beaten 2-1 by France in their opening game. Meanwhile, Peru face a tough test against Didier Deschamps' side.