Denmark and Czech Republic players challenge for a ball during their World Cup qualifying match in Olomouc, Czech Republic on Friday.
Denmark and Czech Republic players challenge for a ball during their World Cup qualifying match in Olomouc, Czech Republic on Friday.
Petr David Josek/AP

OLOMOUC, Czech Republic (AP) -Andreas Cornelius, Simon Kjaer and Niki Zimling scored in the second half Friday to lead Denmark to a 3-0 victory at the Czech Republic in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

Cornellius found the back of the net with a right-foot shot from inside the area in the 56th minute, and Kjaer headed in the second 10 minutes later off a corner from Lars Jacobsen.

Zimling finished the emphatic win with a swerving drive in the 82nd minute.

"We made too many mistakes and the opponent punished us,'' Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech said.

The loss hurts the Czechs' chances of qualifying automatically for the tournament in Brazil. They are tied with Denmark in Group B for third with five points from four matches. Italy leads with 10 points from four games. Bulgaria, which beat Malta 6-0 on Friday, has nine points from five matches.

"It's still a long way (to go),'' Cech said. "We complicated things for ourselves.''

The Czechs badly missed the creativity of captain Tomas Rosicky, whose thigh muscle injury only allowed him to come on as a substitute with 30 minutes left. Petr Jiracek took the playmaking role but was unable to replace him.

The uninspiring Czechs failed to create clear scoring opportunities. In their rare chances, goalkeeper Stephan Andersen denied shots from the edge of the area by Vladimir Darida and David Lafata. At the other end, Christian Eriksen tested Cech.

On Tuesday, the Czechs play at Armenia while Denmark hosts Bulgaria.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.