Denmark kicked off their Group C campaign with a narrow 1-0 win against Peru to start their World Cup on positive note.
Peru will feel unfortunate not to have taken at least a point from the game, as they found Kasper Schmeichel in good form in the Denmark goal, while their best chance was ballooned over the bar when Christian Cueva missed a penalty for Los Incas at the end of the first half.
The South Americans will take heart from their performance, but as Denmark proved, you will be punished at the World Cup if you don’t take your chances.
Here are the four things we learned from the game at the Mordovia Arena:
1. Peru Deserving of Their Place at the World Cup
Despite losing their Group C opener against Denmark, Peru can take plenty of heart from their performance, and probably feel they should’ve earned at least a point from the game come the final whistle.
Andre Carrillo starred for Ricardo Gareca’s side, causing Denmark a number of problems, while there wasn’t a shortage of chances created, just the failure to take advantage of any.
With their second game against France and ideally needing a win, it may suit the South American side to come out on the front foot against the French, as they will have more success playing that way.
2. Christian Eriksen Only Needs One Moment in a Game
While Christian Eriksen was far from his devastating best against Peru, the 26-year-old proved he only needs one moment in a game to help decide the outcome.
Afforded too much space off the back of the midfield duo of Renato Tapia and Victor Yotun, some fine work from Pione Sisto had the Tottenham man running at the Peru defence, before his perfectly weighted pass into the path of Yussuf Poulsen, who calmly finished the opportunity.
A genuine world class player for Denmark, Eriksen will be pivotal if the Danes are to get any success in Russia.
3. Paolo Guerrero Has to Start Against France
His build up to this summer’s World Cup was fair from ideal, but when Paolo Guerrero finally appeared on the pitch in Saransk, his performance gave Peru a very different threat on the pitch.
Acting as a focal point for for their attacks, he gave Peru a target in the final third, appearing to bring the best out of Jefferson Farfan who had cut an isolated figure as a lone striker.
Almost capping his display with a goal from a clever back heel, the 34-year-old has to start the next game against France, giving Peru a different threat that can benefit the more pacey forwards around him.
4. Kasper Schmeichel a Key Performer for Denmark
Kasper Schmeichel is in superb form for Denmark, with the game against Peru earning the ‘keeper his ninth clean sheet in his previous 12 internationals, but he was made to work for it.
Denying Carrillio in the first half with a decent stop, the second period didn’t let up, as he needed to be at his best to prevent Luis Advincula, Paolo Guerrero and Jefferson Farfan to help preserve Denmark’s slender lead.
With a goalkeeper the calibre of Schmeichel between the sticks for the Danes, few teams can call upon a shot-stopper more talented than the 31-year-old, and could prove to be just as important as Eriksen at the other end of the pitch.