Denmark boss Age Hareide hailed goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel after the 1-0 World Cup Group C victory over Peru in Saransk.
Schmeichel was key in seeing out the win following Yussuf Poulsen’s 59th-minute strike, making fine saves to keep out efforts from Edison Flores and Jefferson Farfan.
He also did well to deny Andre Carrillo in a first half that saw Peru, playing in their first World Cup finals match since 1982, miss a penalty awarded via the video assistant video referee system, Christian Cueva blazing his attempt from 12 yards over the bar.
Hareide said in his post-match press conference of Leicester’s Schmeichel: “He is acrobatic, he is a very quick goalkeeper.
“He is fast on his feet and his goal line play is probably the best in the world when he is in form.
“Today he had a fantastic performance and it is needed when you get as hard pressure on you as Peru did in the second half.”
He added: “We have to acknowledge the performance of Kasper today, but also the whole defence and the whole team.”
Hareide was also eager to praise Peru for their efforts.
The 64-year-old, who fears midfielder William Kvist could be ruled out for the rest of the World Cup having come off in the first half with a suspected fractured rib, said: “I think Peru is an outstanding team. They probably deserved more, but that’s football.
“Sometimes that happens, and today we were on the lucky side. Next game, Peru can be on the lucky side.”
Peru boss Ricardo Gareca echoed Hareide’s words in saying he felt his team had not deserved to lose the match, before stressing they cannot “cry over spilt milk”.
“My players did their best, so I really can’t complain,” the Argentinian said.
“We had an enormous amount of fans who came to support us, and it’s sad – they came from very far to see us win this match, or at least a draw. I think that would have been fair.
“I really believe Peru didn’t deserve to lose, but football is about effectiveness.
“We can’t cry over spilt milk, we have to recover as soon as possible.”
When asked if the atmosphere created by Peru’s multitude of fans in the stadium had got to his players in a negative way, Gareca insisted that rather than under pressure, it made them feel “motivated”.
And he said of Cueva, who looked devastated after his penalty miss: “Of course, people make mistakes.
“Afterwards he participated in lots of plays. I think he recovered and that’s the only way you have to try to overcome this kind of adversity. He’s a very strong player with a strong character and mindset.”
Cueva horribly miscued his penalty just before the interval having been brought down in the box by Poulsen – an incident Gambian referee Bakary Gassama watched replays of on the pitchside monitor before pointing to the spot.
After Poulsen’s subsequent goal, which was teed up by Christian Eriksen, there was a lively performance from Peru substitute Paolo Guerrero, their all-time record scorer who was cleared to play at this World Cup in May when a Swiss court granted a temporary lifting of his 14-month drug ban.
The 34-year-old went close to equalising when he sent a clever backheel wide with around 10 minutes to go.
Peru next play on Thursday against France, who beat Australia 2-1 on Saturday.
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