Opponent watch: Star misses out in Denmark’s draw

Denmark have played the first of their two pre-FIFA World Cup friendlies, with star playmaker Christian Eriksen missing out the 0-0 draw to Sweden.

Meanwhile, Peru prepare for their next friendly match after Paolo Guerrero arrived in camp and France’s coach gives his assessment of their win over Italy.

It’s all in the latest edition of Opponent Watch!

READ: Saturday’s Opponent Watch as France cruised against Italy

DENMARK

Denmark were without star playmaker Christian Eriksen for their 0-0 draw with Sweden on Sunday morning (AEST) as he awaits the birth of his first child.

That opened up room for 34-year-old Michael Krohn-Dehli to play behind striker Nicolai Jørgensen, with fellow No.9 option Nicklas Bendtner in doubt after suffering a groin injury while playing his final club game for Rosenborg.

Sweden striker Isaac Kiese-Thelin missed the best chance of the match, ballooning a late shot over the bar from point-blank range in a game where only three shots were registered on target.

Denmark before their friendly against Sweden
Denmark before their friendly against Sweden

"Sweden is the turning point to play and difficult to break down,” explained coach Age Hareide after the game, the second successive 0-0 draw for Denmark.

“I think we played a good game.

“We have stability in the defensive, and it is important. If we cannot score ourselves, it is important that the opponent does not score.”

Denmark were the more adventurous of the two sides, pressing high up the field and forcing a more direct-style Sweden into long passes from the back.

By contrast, Denmark opted to build up through midfield but struggled without the creative presence of Eriksen.

According to ESPN, there were only “tentative signs that the supporting cast can take a share of the attacking burden off his shoulders.”

Denmark next face Mexico on Sunday 10 June at 4am AEST before their first FIFA World Cup Group C match against Peru.

Denmark’s starting XI vs Sweden: Kasper Schmeichel; Henrik Dalsgaard, Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen, Jens Stryger Larsen; Thomas Delaney, William Kvist; Yussuf Poulsen, Michael Krohn-Dehli, Pione Sisto; Nicolai Jørgensen

PERU
Peru are all set for their second FIFA World Cup lead up match when they will play Saudi Arabia on Monday 4am AEST in St Gallen, Switzerland.

After overcoming Scotland 2-0 on Wednesday in a farewell game in Lima, Peru have since travelled to Austria for a training camp, before jetting across to neighbouring Switzerland for the test of Saudi Arabia.

And with the WADA clearance of captain Paolo Guerrero, it looks as if Peru are set to name their record goalscorer in the line up to prepare for their first game against Denmark at the FIFA World Cup.

Guerrero arrived in Peru camp on Friday and defender Aldo Corzo explained the belief the team has in him.

"We always had the faith and hope that Paolo can play the World Cup, he deserves to be with us," he explained to reporters.

Coach Ricardo Gareca added: “All the obstacles that we face — we are going to resolve them on and off the pitch.”

Peru during an open training session before the FIFA World Cup
Peru during an open training session before the FIFA World Cup

FRANCE

France coach Didier Deschamps is content with his side’s performance in the 3-1 win over Italy in a pre-FIFA World Cup friendly.

Samuel Umtiti, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele got on the scoresheet in Nice, yet despite his pleasure with the performance, Deschamps has insisted there is more improvements still to be made.

"We conceded more situations in the second period," Deschamps explained after the game.

"We have this ability to go fast and create a lot of opportunities. You have to be more efficient to get away [from the opponent on the scoreline] sooner. The players demonstrated the state of mind that is needed in both games.

France celebrate
France celebrate against Italy

"A last part of preparation awaits us. I'll let them go for two days.

“We need to keep what this group has in terms of ambition and enthusiasm. We do not do everything perfectly, but for the moment it's satisfactory."