22/04/2024

Denmark was unable to break Tunisia's resilient spirit and has left Group D wide open (Photo: FIFA World Cup)

Group D had two clear favourites heading into the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but after neither Tunisia or Denmark could find the back of the net in their opening match, the door is open for many surprises still to come.

It was a high octane match right across the 90 minutes with Tunisia pressuring Denmark with positive play and plenty of chances. Both countries had their opportunities with Denmark producing five shots on target to one but were well held by a spirited Tunisia side.

The atmosphere was buzzing at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, full with a number of Tunisian fans which made it feel like Denmark were playing an away match. The energy definitely wore on to the Tunisian playing group, whose tempo was up at every contest, creating chances and defending with all their might.

Tunisia fans in full voice in their opening match (Twitter – @FIFAWorldCup)

Tunisia midfielder Aïssa Laïdouni set the tone in the very first minute when he rid Denmark’s Christian Eriksen of the ball with an aggressive sliding tackle. He then proceeded to stand up and pump his arms with passion, gesturing to the crowd to get even more fired up. They created the better first-half chances and Denmark were thankful to a superb save from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel to deny Issam Jebali from scoring.

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Denmark were by no means out of the contest at any stage after coming in favourites.

They should have scored midway through the second half, after a corner was pushed on to the far post by Andreas Christensen and found Andreas Cornelius lurking. The substitute only needed to get a touch on the ball to bundle it home but somehow managed to hit the post instead.

Another opportunity late in the piece was sent to VAR as referee Cesar Arturo Ramos was called to the pitch-side monitor to check on a handball by Yassine Meriah, but decided not to award a spot-kick.

The Denmark and Tunisia draw clearly showcased Group D was not as easily predictable as first thought. However it does go to show that on anyone’s day, the result can be unpredictable and provide a great football spectacle even with a goalless result.

Tunisia saw this opportunity and ceased a very impressive outcome, a country which has never gone past the group stage in their six appearances at the World Cup.

Both teams play their second game of the group on Saturday, with Denmark facing a tricky test against defending champions France, while Tunisia will take on Australia to try and make up some ground in the group table.

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