World Cup Group D: Schmeichel’s big save, Olsen missed chance keep Denmark, Tunisia scoreless

Denmark Tunisia World Cup
Tunisia’s Issam Jebali, right, challenges Denmark’s goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel during the World Cup group D soccer match between Denmark and Tunisia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

In the end, a goalless draw isn’t necessarily the result the match deserved between Tunisia and Denmark, but a point certainly seemed fair for the two in their Group D opener from Education City Stadium on Tuesday at the 2022 World Cup. 

As Saudi Arabia did moments before in its stunning win over Argentina, Tunisia didn’t let its role as underdogs dictate its fate. 

Tunisia took the game to Denmark for the first half of proceedings, largely controlling play with a feverish pace and high-intensity style that fed off a crowd that was overwhelmingly in its favor before the 10th-ranked Danes settled to take control. All while Tunisian stamina waned. 

Issam Jebali nearly put Tunisia ahead in the 43rd minute when he was played in alone on Danish keeper Kasper Schmeichel. The attacker went for a chip from close range, but an onrushing Schmeichel managed to get an outstretched hand on the ball while sliding forward to redirect the chance just wide of the right post. 

While Tunisia had a goal wiped away by offside in the first half, a rare Denmark chance saw Andreas Skov Olsen put away a rebound in the 56th minute. However, the flag went up to cancel it out.

Over the first two matches of Tuesday’s World Cup schedule, five goals were voided by offside calls. 

Christian Eriksen — just 15 months after suffering cardiac arrest at the European Championships — nearly put the Danes ahead in the 69th minute when a left-footed strike from just outside the box was pushed over by Tunisian keeper Aymen Dahmen.

Christian Eriksen World Cup
Denmark’s Christian Eriksen salutes supporters at the end of the World Cup group D soccer match between Denmark and Tunisia, at the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan , Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

On the ensuing corner, the ball squirted to the right post where striker Andreas Cornelius stood unmarked. But he didn’t know whether to head it or kick it — and instead, he glanced it off the post for an immense opportunity missed.

In total, there were 14 shots off of corner kicks during the match, which was the most since the stat was recorded beginning in 1966.

Denmark further pressed on as Tunisia ran out of gas, keeping them firmly on the back foot. A cross in the 92nd minute by Joakim Mæhle was deflected and careened toward goal. It was awkwardly turned away by Dahmen, who looked as though he was caught flat-footed before the leaping parry. 

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