Both sides were guilty of failing to convert some good opportunities in a thrilling Group D match.
Don’t judge this match by its score. Tunisia and Denmark battled to one of the more exciting nil-nil draws in World Cup history in their opening Group D encounter.
Tunisia brought the energy to the game on Tuesday from the start with crunching tackles and players rallying the North African country’s countless fans in the Education City Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar.
The Eagles of Carthage, as Tunisia are known, dominated the early stages as they hassled and pressured the Danes into a series of mistakes. However, as Denmark grew accustomed to the game’s intensity, they grew into the match with their talisman Christian Eriksen pulling the strings in midfield.
Tunisia missed a couple of gilt-edged chances either side of half-time as their fans continued to heap pressure on Danish players with whistles and boos.
The first fell to Issam Jebali, who forced a fine save from Kasper Schmeichel. The Danish shot-stopper spread himself wide, deflecting Jebali’s delicate finish away from goal.
In the second half, Alissa Laidouni, the midfielder and Tunisia’s best player on the day, was able to break past the Danish defensive line but lacked the pace to rattle Schmeichel in a one-on-one. Laidouni eventually lost possession as he tried to square it across the goal.
After a short lull in the match, the game burst into life again in the 70th minute after the ball fell to Denmark’s Andreas Cornelius, who inexplicably headed against the post from point-blank range.
Only a minute later, Tunisia had a penalty claim waved away after the referee deemed Joachim Andersen’s hand had been naturally positioned after the ball struck it.
Tunisia began to run out of steam, and Denmark slowly began to take control of the match.
In the 94th minute, it was Denmark’s turn to have a penalty turned down after the referee was called over to the VAR screen for a suspected handball.
It was a nervy finish for the Tunisians, who had started the stronger team but had clearly run out of energy by the end. Their fans, however, who had created an incredible atmosphere in the stadium, were vocal throughout, cheering their team on to the final whistle.
Eventually, a draw seemed like a fair result, but both sides will be concerned that they could not convert some strong chances. France and Australia are the other two teams in Group D, and every point will count as the teams look to break through to the round of 16.