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Australia into World Cup’s last 16, beat Denmark 1-0

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Jonathan Ramnanansingh Australia's Mathew Leckie scores his side's first goal during the World Cup group D match against Denmark, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, on Wednesday. (AP Photo) -
Australia's Mathew Leckie scores his side's first goal during the World Cup group D match against Denmark, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, on Wednesday. (AP Photo) -

AUSTRALIA qualified for the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup for the second time in tournament history when they edged Denmark 1-0 in an intense final-round Group D clash at Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar on Wednesday.

A 60th-minute strike from Mathew Leckie was all that separated the Socceroos from the 2020 Euro semi-finalists.

This was also Australia’s first time recording consecutive group match victories in a World Cup.

Australia’s win also wiped away Tunisia’s historic 1-0 triumph over title-holders France in the other group match.

After 58 minutes, Tunisian forward Wahbi Khazri completed a strong individual run to score past French goalie Steve Mandanda at Education City Stadium.

At that point, Tunisia were guaranteed a place in the round of 16 if they maintained their lead to the end, and the match between Australia and Denmark remained goalless.

However, Leckie’s goal dashed Tunisia’s hopes as Australia’s victory saw them climb into second position to secure qualification behind the already advanced French team.

At 3pm, Group C completes its final round of matches as Lionel Messi’s Argentina need a win against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland to advance while Mexico and Saudi Arabia also need a victory, and Argentina loss, to advance.

Poland, however, just need a draw against Argentina to earn a spot in the knockout stages.