Jon Dahl Tomasson headed his second goal seven minutes from time to give Denmark a 2-1 victory over Uruguay in their opening group World Cup group A match on Saturday.
A spectacular volley by Dario Rodriguez just after halftime looked to have earned Uruguay a draw after Tomasson had put the Danes ahead just before the interval.
But the Denmark striker headed Martin Jorgensen's cross into the roof of the net to put his side top of the group standings, with world champions France bottom after losing 1-0 to Senegal on Friday.
"I thought we played the better football for the last hour and physically we were better," Denmark coach Morten Olsen said.
"We had good chances from (Dennis) Rommendahl and also Jon Dahl Tomasson. It wasn't just the goals themselves that pleased me but the build-up which was marvellous.
"As a coach it's very satisfying to see things that you practise come off," he added.
Denmark went ahead at the end of an even first half when Tomasson laid the ball off to Jesper Gronkjaer on the left wing and raced into the area to meet the cross and finish from close range, his 16th goal in 40 internationals.
Rodriguez, though, put Uruguay back on level terms just two minutes into the second half with a delightful goal, blasting a left-footed volley into the net from 20 metres after being found by a clever pass from Pablo Garcia.
His strike was the most spectacular of the tournament so far and left goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen helpless.
But the Uruguayans, who qualified last of the 32 World Cup finalists, generally struggled to create chances, with Sebastian Abreu and Alvaro Recoba well marshalled by the Denmark defence.
Denmark's sturdy, defensive midfielders Stig Tofting and Thomas Gravesen worked hard to break up the Uruguayan attacks, while central defenders Rene Hendriksen and Martin Laursen dealt comfortably with the few early threats provided by Dario Silva.
The Danes, who played with composure and produced some measured build-up play through the midfield, should have gone ahead after 11 minutes.
Thomas Helveg found Sand unmarked in the box -- an unusual slip for a Uruguayan defence organised by Paolo Montero -- with a cross from the right wing, but the striker's diving header hit the ground and shaved the crossbar.
Uruguay coach Victor Pua pulled goalscorer Rodriguez, a left-back, off in the 87th minute for attacker Frederico Magallanes and brought on Richard Morales for Sebastian Abreu.
But Denmark, who reached the World Cup quarter-finals in 1998, countered by pulling 10 men behind the ball and comfortably held out.
Uruguay coach Victor Pua was not too dispirited.
"Our morale remains high, we are still in the competition and we are looking ahead to the next two matches," he said.
"We will also try to think about the mistakes we made today. The game was balanced but in the end they got the goal that mattered."