Denmark held on for a fortunate 1-0 victory over Peru to join France at the top of Group C. RB Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen scored the only goal of the game, and also proved vital in defense as the Danes held on.
Peru 0-1 Denmark
RasenBallsport Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen scored the only goal of the game as Denmark beat Peru in Saransk to go level on points with France at the top of group C.
Peru, who were making their first World Cup appearance since 1982 and who were backed by over 20,000 vociferous traveling fans, wasted a host of chances in both halves.
In stoppage time at the end of an entertaining first half, German video assistant referee Felix Zwayer intervened to award Peru a penalty after Poulsen brought down Christian Cueva in the box – the second time in a day that the VAR had given a spot kick. Cueva stepped up himself but fired high over the bar, as the first half ended goalless.
Fifteen minutes after the re-start, Poulsen made Peru pay. Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen, who had been effectively marked out of the game in the first half, finally found space and played in the RB Leipzig player, who made no mistake when firing past Pedro Gallese at his near post.
Peru continued to push forward in search of an equalizer with Cueva the chief instigator, desperate to make up for his missed penalty. He set up Edison Flores but Kasper Schmeichel saved well, before Jefferson Farfan missed a header across goal from captain Alberto Rodriguez by a whisker.
In the final twenty minutes Poulsen proved he is just as important in his own area as in the opposition's, clearing a cross away from his goal-line with a vital back-post header, with Jose Paolo Guerrero lurking.
Despite more pressure, Peru couldn't break through and Denmark, whose line-up also featured new Borussia Dortmund signing Thomas Delaney and former Borussia Mönchengladbach loanee Andreas Christensen, held on for a fortunate victory.
As it happened:
90' - FINAL WHISTLE! Denmark snatches the win despite Peru's control!
84' - WHAT A SAVE BY SCHMEICHEL! Jefferson Farfan receives the ball about eleven meters from goal, completely unmarked. The former Schalke striker shoots, but Kasper Schmeichel manages to push it away!
81' - Substitution Denmark: Mathias Jorgensen comes on instead of Chelsea defender Christensen.
79' - CLOSE PERU! Cueva dribbles inside the box but cannot get into a shooting position. The Sao Paulo midfielder then passes the ball to Guerreiro, who cheekily tries to shoot with his heel, but it goes just wide! Ten minutes to go, and Peru are getting close...
69' - CLOSE PERU! The ball is crossed into the Denmark box, Rodriguez heads it to Farfan, who misses a chance to push it in from close range by a millisecond!
67' - Substitution Denmark: Martin Braithwaite replaces Sisto.
63' - Substitution Peru: Flores leaves the pitch, former Bayern Munich striker Paolo Guerrero replaces him.
59' - DENMARK TAKES THE LEAD! Christian Eriksen runs with the ball, and then passes it perfectly to RB Leipzig's Yussuf Poulsen, that shoots it past Gallese! Great goal!
57' - CLOSE! Christian Cueva receives a wonderful ball inside the box, but tries to shoot too late. The ball then wanders around the Denmark box, with no Peru player being able to take a shot at Denmark's goal! Great move by the South Americans, but Cueva's confidence looks shattered since that penalty miss...
53' - A slow start to the second half. The one chance so far came as Christian Eriksen took a free kick that ended up hitting the wall. The ball returned to Tottenham man, that took a shot that went well above the Peru goal.
45' - Second half is a go!
45' - HALF-TIME SCORE: 0-0
44' - PENALTY MISSED PERU! Yussuf Poulsen fouls Peru's Christian Cueva in the box. The referee turns to VAR, and decides for a penalty. Cueva takes the shot himself, but hits it well above Schmeichel's goal!
39' - Denmark's Eriksen takes the free kick. It hits the wall, but the ball goes back to Lasse Schöne, who shoots it straight into the hands of the Peruvian goalkeeper.
38 - Peru's Renato Tapia receives a yellow card for fouling Sisto on the edge of the box.
36' - Substitution Denmark: Injured William Kvist is being replaced by Lasse Schöne. Kvist has been taken on a stretcher and is receiving medical treatment.
32' - Danish midfielder William Kvist is lying injured after being hit by a Peruvian player's knee. It looks like Kvist will not be able to continue.
29' - CLOSE! Peru's Jefferson Farfan receives the ball in the Denmark box, turns around and takes a shot. The ball hits the Danish defender and goes just wide. Great game so far!
27' - CLOSE! New Borussia Dortmund signing Thomas Delaney runs through the middle and shots from about 30 meters, but the ball goes above the Peru goal.
20' - Calls for a handball! Denmark's Sisto tries to take a shot in the Peru box, and the ball is blocked by the defender in white. The referee says play on.
13' - CLOSE! Peru’s Renato Tapia cuts down the right wing and shoots once he enters the box, but the Danish keeper pushes it away. Peru are looking good so far.
7' - Peru are slightly the better team so far. Their best chance came as midfielder Yoshimar Yotun took a shot from about 25 meters, but Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel got hold of the ball. The South American fans are clearly being heard more than their Danish counterparts.
1' - We're underway in Saransk! Peru are in the white tops with their trademark red stripe, while Denmark wear all red. Those energies as Peru's national anthem started playing... Impressive.
Back to Group C we go! After France's rather fortunate victory over Australia earlier, Denmark are looking to get their campaign off to a winning start against Peru, who are making their first World Cup appearance since 1982.