Peru manager Ricardo Gareca paid tribute to their fans and their opponents after a positive performance went unrewarded in defeat to Denmark.

Playing in their first World Cup match for 36 years, Peru played well but found Kasper Schmeichel in fine form. Carlos Cueva had a golden chance to give them the lead with a first half penalty but he put it over the crossbar.

Yussuf Poulsen punished their profligacy with the winner after half time and despite bringing on all-time top scorer and captain Paolo Guerrero the Incas couldn't make their dominance count.

"We were playing against Denmark who are truly a great side," Gareca generously said, as quoted by ​BBC Sport.

Since their arrival in Russia, the Peru supporters have been widely praised in the English media for the quantity and quality of their support. As many as 40,000 Peru fans are believed to have travelled.

The atmosphere in the Mordovia Arena in Saransk was one of the best of the tournament so far and Gareca paid tribute to the incredible backing behind his team.

"There was a great atmosphere in the stadium and that means we want to perform," said the 60-year-old Argentinian.

"We knew we would have great support, but we didn't think there would be so many people having to travel so far."

Peru now find themselves on the brink of elimination already, as the wrong set of results on matchday 2 on Thursday could spell the end of their campaign.

Defeat to France in Yekaterinburg coupled with a Denmark draw or win against Australia would see the Incas heading home before their final group match.