If any team deserved to progress to the next round then it has to be Denmark after all they had gone through in the last couple of weeks. They were dubbed as one of the tough contenders but when Christian Eriksen collapsed at Copenhagen in the match against Finland, the scenario changed and they lost two consecutive matches.

Still, it was not all over for them because if they win the last group game against Russia at their own backyard and Belgium keep a clean sheet, then they would be able to advance.

With the stadium chanting for the Danes to bounce back and fight, the boys responded to the passion and dream of their home crowd by dishing out an outstanding show similar to the World Cup Qualifiers in 1985 when they beat the former Soviet Union by 4-2.

Russia frustrated Denmark early on by defending well, tackling diligently, blocking crosses and tracking runners from midfield.

Denmark made regular gains down the flanks but could not infiltrate a well-guarded box.

The Russians threatened to puncture in the 17th minute when Alexsandr Golovin pounced on a loose ball in midfield and skedaddled past two Danes on his way into the area. He had the whole goal to aim at but drilled a low shot at Kasper Schmeichel, who made the save.

Denmark enjoyed an even bigger let-off four minutes later when Russia launched another break from midfield only for Roman Zobnin to botch a straightforward pass when attackers outnumbered defenders.

A crude foul by Fyodor Kudryashov on Daniel Wass earned the veteran a booking and made them a tad defensive rather than being too aggressive.

Kudryashov redeemed himself moments later by making a perfectly timed tackle in the box to curtail a run by Mikkel Damsgaard. But no one was likely to stop a thunderous long-range shot by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the half-hour – Russia exhaled when it flew inches wide.

The Danish show was just around the corner.

The 20-year-old Damsgaard nipped into space to collect a pass and then, from just outside the D-box, he curled the ball between two centre-backs and into the corner of the net, beyond Matvei Safonov, the goalkeeper too bewildered to dive. The impact of the goal was such that all of a sudden the Russians were reeling.

After the break, Golovin and Dzyuba carried plenty of menaces.

But Daler Kuzyaev accidentally shot his own team in the foot in the 59th minute when his blind backpass wrongfooted his goalkeeper, Safonov, and turned into an ideal through-ball to Poulsen.

The forward stroked the ball into the empty net to trigger wild celebrations all around the stadium.

The atmosphere grew even giddier a few minutes later when news came through that Belgium had taken the lead against Finland but the goal was ruled out after a VAR check and then, back in Copenhagen, Russia were awarded a penalty when Jannik Vestergaard was judged to have dragged Aleksandr Sobolev to the ground. Dzyuba calmly converted from the spot.

After that, the crowd roared news of a Belgian goal that stood.

Then the Dynamite Denmark battered at the Russians – Safonov turning them away with several excellent saves before Christensen thrashed in an irresistible shot from over 20 yards.

Then Maehle made it 4-1 with a smart finish after dancing through the Russian defence.

After the final whistle, the celebration was out of this world.


The night belonged to the dazzling boys from Denmark and their passionate fans.

Facebook Comments