Both Denmark and Peru needed to overcome a play-off to reach the 2018 World Cup, and the extra effort required is indicative of the fact that these two nations are on the fringe of the world’s top soccer powers.
Qualification would have been especially sweet for the Peruvians, who progressed via the narrowest of margins. A draw in their final CONMEBOL group match saw them surpass Chile by just two goals, and their defeat of New Zealand in the play-off sparked wild scenes in Lima as the nation returned to the World Cup after a 36 year absence.
In essence this is a match that could determine who finishes second in the group, and arguably it is more important for Peru considering they have the unenviable task of facing France in their second game. If Denmark can win the opener, they would only need to beat Australia to secure progression without even needing to consider their clash with the French.
The matchup is intriguing for two reasons. Firstly, the nations have never come up against each other so there will likely be caution in the way the pair play. Secondly, both teams love to utilise possession, so it will be interesting to see which team holds the ascendency when the match gets underway.
There are also some odd trends when you look at the goal-scoring habits of these teams. Denmark like to take time to build into a match, and are especially potent in the middle of the first half and the last fifteen minutes. Peru score few goals in the first half of matches and tend to strike late – they score the vast majority of their goals in the last third of the match.
Although the sides are reasonably well matched, Denmark will enter this match as the favourite, which we imagine has a lot to do with the form of midfielder Christian Eriksen. The Tottenham Hotspur star has been on another level this season, and national manager Age Hareide commented in March that his best player exceeds the quality found in the midfield of Real Madrid or Barcelona.
A fit and firing Eriksen could be the difference here, and we love the generous odds available for the Danes – you can jump on for as much as +132. We’re going to go with a 2-1 victory to the Europeans, with Peru to score late to set up a tense finish.
Alternatively, you can select Peru for +220 or take the draw at +217