Haiti entered the match with a chance of qualifying for the knockout rounds of the World Cup despite losing their opening two fixtures – should les Grenadières be able to beat Denmark and England defeat China in the coinciding fixture, then the Caribbean nation would qualify to face co-hosts Australia in the round-of-sixteen. The Haitians would be confident they can cause an upset due to their impressive performances against England and China, coupled with the fact they are yet to concede from open play.
The Danish occupied the second qualification spot in the group for the knockouts ahead of this final match, and a win would allow the rød-hvide to reach the knockout stages for the first time since 1995.
HAI: Théus, Petit-Frère, Joseph, K.Louis, Surpris, Dumornay, Pierre-Louis, B.Louis, Jeudy, Mondésir, Éloissaint
DEN: Christensen, Veje, Boye Sørensen, Holmgaard, Sevecke, Sørensen, Vangsgaard, Madsen, Møller Kühl, Thomsen, Harder
Denmark started the game in quick fashion, trying to secure an early lead to calm the nerves as they look to secure their qualification for the knockout rounds. The Danes put the pressure on with a dangerous cross into the corridor of uncertainty with Amalie Vangsgaard attacking the pass, but failing to get the required touch to send the ball into the back of the net. The ball was put behind for a corner by the fullback, Chelsea Surpris.
The resultant corner was turned into the net by Simone Boye Sørensen. The corner caused panic amongst the Haitian defence, as they only managed to clear the ball to the edge of the box before a sublime pass back into the box was turned towards goal – bringing an incredible reaction save from Kerly Théus before Sørensen turned the ball past the hapless goalkeeper. However, this goal was ruled out for offside as Sørensen’s shoulder was narrowly ahead of the last defender.
The Danish settled into the game and controlled the possession through the early stages of the match ensuring that les Grenadières didn’t trouble the Europeans’ defences. The rød-hvide found success down the right wing playing a number of dangerous crosses into the Haitian box that were ultimately cleared.
The Danish did get their reward for sustained pressure in the forms of a penalty. The ball was played against the arm of Dayana Pierre-Louis, and the referee was quick to point to the spot. The penalty was cooly slotted home by the Danish captain, Pernille Harder, in the 21st minute.
Haiti started to grow into the game having conceded this goal, and the Caribbean nation started to cause issues for Denmark at the back – with their best chance of the half coming when Nérilia Mondésir was played in behind, but her shot was tame and straight at the Danish ‘keeper.
As the half came to a close, the ball was in the Haitian net for the third time. The Danes once again found joy on the right-hand side, whipping in a sublime cross that was struck home competently by Harder. However, for the second time of the game, a Danish goal was ruled out for offside.
Haiti showed more attacking intent at the start of the second half as they chased a way back into the game. The Haitians could only muster half-chances as they continued to lack the clinical attributes to take advantage of their sustained pressure – with their Danish opponents able to close down and block any half chance that les Grenadières could create. The best of the Haitian chances fell to Sherly Jeudy on the edge of the box, before Rikke Sevecke put her body in the way.
The Danes struggled to deal with the press throughout the second and began to foul more consistently to regain composure. However, one of these fouls almost led to a goal as Kethna Louis got her head to a freekick swung in from the touchline on the 75th minute, but this chance was easily gathered by Lene Christensen.
Denmark believed that they had secured their victory with a second goal from Harder as she headed home into an empty goal as Théus was lying injured on the pitch, having intercepted a pass through the Haitian defence. The goal was ruled out though, as it was deemed that Théus was fouled as she made the interception.
The Danish continued their search to kill off the game with a second goal as Mille Gejl was played through on goal, but as she bore down on goal, her shot was well blocked by Théus to keep Haiti’s slender hopes of a positive result alive.
These hopes were eventually dashed though as Sanne Troelsgaard secured the win, slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the Haitian net. The goal came about as Denmark increased their influence in the latter stages due to the monumental effort of the Haiti players – with them being too tired to resist this late Danish surge any longer.
A historic moment was not to be for the Haitian nation. The country and its fans should be proud of the performances of the team throughout the competition. They will have been disappointed to not score or gain a point, but for the World Cup debutants this will be an encouraging time as they look to learn from this performance in future World Cups. The Danish will now face Australia in Sydney on August 7 in the round-of-sixteen. The European outfit will be pleased to have secured their qualification through the group for the first time since 1995.