Denmark boss admits Peru 'probably deserved more' than 1-0 defeat

Denmark coach Age Hareide credited his defence and goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel for preserving a 1-0 win over Peru in their World Cup opener on Saturday, but admitted their opponents "probably deserved more" from the game.

Schmeichel made six saves and Peru came close to scoring on a number of other opportunities as well, and Hareide was careful not to underestimate the South Americans, who were playing in their first World Cup game since 1982.

"Peru is a very good team. We have a lot of respect for the Peruvians. They got very little out of this game, they probably deserved more," Hareide said.

Hareide has moved away from the free-flowing "Danish dynamite" model favoured by his predecessor Morten Olsen and were dogged in defence. The victory marked the first time in Denmark's history that they have kept five consecutive clean sheets.

"You have to acknowledge the performance of [goalkeeper] Kasper [Schmeichel], but also of our defence, of the whole team," Hareide said. "This is our fifth game without conceding a goal. It's very tough against World Cup opponents."

Hareide also acknowledged that his team struggled to come to terms with the occasion at times and that they depended on Schmeichel to keep them in the game as Peru turned up the heat.

"I do think we were a bit afraid of the atmosphere, the intensity of it. We haven't practised that very much, but we have practised a lot at being a team," Hareide said. "The morale of the team was very good. We were under pressure, they came forward with so many men ... It's good to have a good goalkeeper, let me put it that way!"

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca agreed with his counterpart that the result did not reflect a true picture of the match, with his side rueing a dreadful penalty miss from Christian Cueva which would have put them ahead just minutes before halftime.

"It was a very competitive game. In my view, Peru did as much as possible to win the game and score," Gareca said. "I have nothing to say to my players. They did their best. I really can't complain. I think in general terms the result doesn't really reflect what happened on the pitch."

Cueva had to be consoled by team mates and was visibly upset as he left the pitch at the break.

"At halftime, we told him he had to keep playing strong and stay in the match," Gareca said. "Of course, people make mistakes, there are always mistakes, and we have to turn things around. He has the personality to turn it around. After the penalty, he stayed in there, he was asking for the ball. I think he recovered."

The coach also had no regrets about not starting with Paolo Guerrero, Peru's captain and top goal scorer, whose reprieve from a doping ban just before the start of the tournament came as a big boost to the Incas. Guerrero had an immediate effect when he came on minutes after the Danish goal and came close to scoring on several occasions.

"That's the decision we made. This team has been playing together well [without him]," he said.

Peru had by no means lost hope, he added, ahead of facing France on June 21 and Australia five days later.

"We have to come to terms with this defeat so let's put this match behind us and see how we can face France in the best possible manner," he said. "I don't think Peru deserved to lose but we can't cry over spilt milk. We have to recover quickly to face France."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.