COPENHAGEN — Christian Eriksen scored a first-half goal but missed a second-half penalty as wasteful Denmark began their World Cup qualifying campaign with 1-0 win over Armenia in European Group E on Sunday.

With the visitors missing captain and record goal-scorer Henrikh Mkhitaryan due to a thigh injury, Eriksen rifled home Viktor Fischer’s backheeled pass in the 17th minute of coach Age Hareide’s first competitive international in charge.

In driving rain, Fischer saw his powerful first-half shot from distance come cannoning back off the crossbar and Eriksen had a second-half penalty saved by Armenia goalkeeper Arsen Beglaryan as the Danes struggled to convert their dominance into goals.

Armenia, who have never qualified for the World Cup as an independent nation, managed just one shot on target and Denmark, who themselves missed out on Brazil on 2014, held out comfortably.

Next Armenia will host Romania on October 8 and travel to Poland on October 11.

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