Denmark and Tunisia served up the first goalless draw of the finals in an exciting match in which either side could have snatched the win.
- Denmark had been considered dark horses for Qatar 2022 by many pundits but drew a blank against an adventurous Tunisia
- Andreas Cornelius had the best chance of a game that didn’t lack in excitement
- Denmark face holders France in their next group game as Tunisia tackle Australia
Denmark 0-0 Tunisia | Group D
The first goalless draw at the FIFA World Cup 2022™ came courtesy of Denmark, one of the fancied sides of the tournament, and Tunisia. An enthralling fixture granted chances to both sides to take all three points, but ultimately there would be no victor.
The best chances of the first half fell to the Tunisians – Mohamed Drager’s heavily deflected shot almost dipped in and Kasper Schmeichel pulled off an excellent save to deny Issam Jebali – but it was in the second half where the golden chance fell.
As Andreas Christensen rose to head a corner goalwards, Andreas Cornelius dived for the ball. Whether the outcome would have been different had he led with his foot rather than his head it cannot be known, but with it seeming like an opening goal was certain it was the striker who ended up across the goal line rather than the ball.
Jesper Lindstrom’s late, swirling cross-come-shot proved the final unsuccessful sight of goal.
Key Moment: No last-gasp penalty
When the referee ran over to the VAR screen for a last-minute penalty check, the Tunisians held their breath, expecting the worst. Montassar Talbi had possibly handled the ball – the Danes had called for it, but nobody could tell in real time – and awaited his fate.
This game, which had entertained but not found its route to a winner, was offering a last chance for victory. However, the Mexican referee waved away the claim and the two sides shared the spoils.
Stat of the Match
The 19-year-old Hannibal Mejbri became just the second teenager to play for Tunisia in a FIFA World Cup match following Yasin Chikhaoui v Saudi Arabia (14/06/2006).
Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri after his side was roared on by a fanatical support: “We know the crowd is very important for us. It’s always very important mentally, it gives us a great lift, and I’m looking forward to seeing the fans continue to do that. It really helped us in terms of our game. Tactically we played very well, and we deserved the draw and we played very well.
“We played against a powerhouse of the tournament. We saw that our team performed very well. I should commend my players. Maybe we just lacked a bit of efficacy on the ground. We should have capitalised on the chances to have a better result.”
Denmark coach Kasper Hjumland: “They made an atmosphere that was perfect for them. But we were prepared, and I cannot say that was the reason for the performance, my players have played in much tougher [environments]. We never said Tunisia would be a game that was easy to win, but we definitely had an aim of winning this one because we knew a result in this game would have helped us.
“Now it could be complicated. It’s one point each, now we have two great games. We’re looking forward to France, we can’t wait to get started.”
Player of the Match
Aissa Laidouni, Tunisia.