Kasper Hjulmand has admitted that his Denmark were “nervous” and played “too slowly” in their goalless draw against Tunisia in the World Cup group stages.
The Euro 2020 semi-finalists were sluggish to get going against Tunisia as they were held in their Group C opener.
Tunisia were the better side for most of the first half as Issam Jebali had a goal disallowed. Kasper Schmeichel also had to be at his best to deny him in a one-on-one situation.
Denmark’s hopes of a stoppage-time penalty were scuppered when Mexican referee Cesar Ramos chose not to punish the ball striking Yassine Meriah’s arm.
Ramos went to the pitchside monitor but stuck with his on-field decision, correctly judging that the ball had come off the chest of the Tunisia defender first before hitting the arm.
Denmark head coach Hjulmand said: “We played too slowly and we were nervous.
“I’m happy with the pressure we put on at the end and, if we had scored, you would have said ‘that’s fine’. But we did not score and I am not satisfied.
“This result could have helped us, but now it could be complicated.”
Denmark supporters were hugely outnumbered in a 42,925 crowd, which was hardly surprising given that so many Tunisians live in Doha.
The North African fans created a noisy, vibrant atmosphere throughout and the cheers at the final whistle as Tunisia players fell to the floor – delighted with their point – were deafening.
“We were prepared for it,” said Hjulmand. “I don’t think it was something that influenced our performance, but it definitely gave them wings.
“Our players are used to playing at bigger stadiums than this, so I don’t think it affected us.”
Tunisia manager Jalel Kadri was delighted with getting off the mark ahead of remaining group games against Australia and France.
Kadri said: “We know how much the crowd cheering drives us, it lifted our spirits.
“But physically and mentally we also played very well and we deserved the draw.
“We lacked efficacy and we should have capitalised on the chances we had in the first half. But I should commend my players on the way they played.
“We started with a strong opponent and it is a very positive outcome.
“We are playing in a strong group, but our main objective is to get past this round and we are optimistic about doing that.”
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