NEW DELHI: Mathieu Leckie scored his first-ever World Cup goal which ultimately turned out to be the match-winner as Australia reached the last 16 for the first time since 2006 after recording a 1-0 victory against Denmark in their final Group D game at Al Wakrah in Qatar on Wednesday.
After a sterile first half, Leckie put Australia ahead on the counterattack in the 60th minute when he got past the Danish defense before sending the ball home.
Denmark, who looked sharp and had more ball possession, created chances in the first half and could have taken an early lead, but Jesper Lindstrom’s shot from close range was blocked in front the Australian goalkeeper. Matt Ryan parried an attempt to Mathias Jensen.

Australia finished second with six points, level with group winners France, after the world champions lost 0-1 to Tunisia. Denmark were last with one point and Tunisia third with four points.
The Australians have qualified for the knockout stages for only the second time, having done so 16 years ago when they lost 0-1 to Italy in the round of 16.
The Australian defense were guilty of giving space to Joakim Maehle on the left in the 19th minute as the defender rammed the ball into the box, but Ryan came to Australia’s rescue again, fending off the ball.

Australia began to create chances and threaten the Danish defense when striker Duke Mitchell aimed from range, while Riley McGree had a shot saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
They finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark as Leckie timed his run perfectly and sent the ball into Maehle’s legs before beating Schmeichel.
Denmark thought they had been given a lifeline 10 minutes later when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul on Kasper Dolbergbut he was quickly knocked down after the flag was raised for offside.
(With agency contributions)

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