The Video Assistant Referee [VAR] once again played a starring role at a World Cup match as Australia secured a 1-1 draw against Denmark courtesy of a controversial first-half penalty.
Mile Jedinak scored his second penalty of the tournament after Yussuf Poulsen was deemed to have handled the ball following an Australian corner.
Although Poulsen’s hand did make contact with the ball as he challenged for the ball with Mathew Leckie, it was unclear even after numerous replays whether the Denmark forward had deliberately handled.
But, having initially dismissed Australia’s appeals, referee Antonio Mateu pointed to the spot after reviewing the incident.
Within seven minutes Denmark had taken the lead through Eriksen. The Tottenham forward hit his 12-yard effort with such power, it left Australia goalkeeper Matt Ryan with little chance in goal.
But despite conceding early, it was Australia which looked more decisive in possession – with creator-in-chief Leckie particularly impressive — and it was the Aussies who had more attempts on goal, keeping Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel particularly busy after the break.
Their endeavor deserved an equalizer, though the manner in which they scored will spark numerous debates.
The Danes thought they had successfully defended a corner but, with the play having moved to the other end of the pitch, Mateu awarded the penalty following the intervention of the VAR.
Poulsen, who was also the offender when Denmark conceded a penalty to Peru through VAR in their opening match, received a yellow card in the process and will miss Denmark’s crucial encounter against France on June 26 as it is his second booking of the tournament.