Judging by the recent form the clash against the Czech Republic was Denmark’s game to lose. Baku is one of the most impressive stadiums used in this showpiece event and the passionate Danish fans present at the stadium enjoyed the match till the end as dazzling Denmark advanced to the semifinals of Euro 2020 since 1992.
VI SKAL IKKE HJEM – VI SKAL VIDERE! ??#ForDanmark #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/hB0rnp36uy
— DBU – En Del Af Noget Større (@DBUfodbold) July 3, 2021
Eight goals in their last two games and a great head-to-head record with the Czech Republic – plus a higher world ranking – suggest they are the favourties on paper.
But their opponents had to topple the Dutch to get here – and they won’t be satisfied with simply rolling over and letting the Danish Dynamite waltz into the semifinals at their expense.
Baku’s weather was not typical European; rather the temperature was touching 35-Degree Celsius and 61% humidity.
Christian Eriksen in our heart ❣️ #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/1xoj73fOLx
— cricketsoccer (@cricketsoccer) July 3, 2021
Vladimir Coufal was teed up for a shot from the outside of the Danish penalty area and time seemed to stand still as he swung his boot at the ball but his effort is blocked.
Denmark earned a corner and from the corner, Stryger-Larsen’s delivery to the edge of the six-yard box was perfect. Thomas Delaney got a free header and sent his downward effort into the bottom corner.
?? Denmark reach first semi-final since 1992 ?
? Key to their success = ______#EURO2020 | #DEN pic.twitter.com/VwkOIRawc6
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 3, 2021
Electrifying start for Denmark – those Danes who were in the Olympic Stadium in Baku were beside themselves with delight. The marking of the Czech Republic was hideously bad. A Danish blocker saw to it that Delaney was left unmarked and given a free header – the midfielder made no mistake. He didn’t need to make a run and barely even had to jump.
The Czechs were unsettled as Denmark pressed higher up and another Danish corner after a Kasper Dolberg shot is put out. This one is sent to the back post, aimed at Jannik Vestergaard.
Denmark out in front early!
What a header by Thomas Delaney ☄️#EURO2020
— SOCCER.COM (@soccerdotcom) July 3, 2021
But they were trying to regain authority over the ball.
Patrik Schick cut back into the byline and posed a threat which earned a corner but not productive enough.
A half-clearance dropped for Sevcik, who blasted a volley high over the cross-bar. If he had kept it down, it would have been unstoppable.
Kasper Schmeichel sent a poor clearance straight to the feet of Lukas Masopust, who controlled the ball, advanced and cut inside and played the ball into the path of Holes, who brought a smart save out of Schmeichel from a tight angle.
From a resulting corner, Sevcik sent the ball deep and Tomas Soucek skimmed it wide of the far post off his head. He got a clean header there and perhaps should have done better.
The Czech Republic won a free-kick which was taken from the deep and lofted towards the far post.
Ondrej Celuska leapt to try and nod the ball towards the goal but failed to make contact with it. Rather than the ball was too high for him it looked like he mistimed his jump although he might have got a little shove from Jannik Vestergaard.
Damsgaard played a ball through the centre along the floor to Dolberg outside the penalty area, who in turn played it further forward for the chasing Stryger-Larsen.
The Czech goalkeeper Vaclik dashes off his line and just beat the Danish right wing-back to the ball.
Damsgaard galloped down the inside-right and unleashes a low diagonal shot in the direction of the Czech goal. Vaclik saved comfortably.
Denmark are creating a summer to remember! ?? pic.twitter.com/UqSq9TqfpR
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 3, 2021
After the drinks break, the ball was played down the left flank for the right-footed left wing-back Joakim Maehle to chase. Without pausing or breaking stride, he flicked an unbelievable cross into the penalty area with the outside of his right foot, teeing up Dolberg at the far post.
The striker made no mistake, volleying home from seven or eight yards out.
That cross came from Joakim Maehle was delicate – just an insouciant swish with the outside of his right boot as he chased the ball down the flank with Coufal in hot pursuit. The Czech defender was probably waiting for him to stop and cut inside, but Maehle was having none of it. Braithewaite missed the header from six yards, but Dolberg was waiting behind him at the far post to volley home.
That Joakim Maehle cross ?
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 3, 2021
Denmark 2 Czech Republic 0 at halftime.
It had been an astonishing start to the second half from the Czech Republic, who forced Schmeichel into three saves in the opening four minutes before beating him courtesy of a Schick finish through the legs of Jannik Vestergaard.
Schick became the first player since Milan Baros in Euro 2004 to score five goals in this event.
Krmencik and Jakub Janko on for Lukas Masopust and Tomas Holes were and the Czechs rediscovered their lost vim as Krmencik wreaking havoc upfront. Denmark’s defenders were on the back foot and his distracting presence was making loads of space for Schick.
Tomas Soucek slides in to block a Poulsen shot in the Czech penalty area and gets an accidental kick in the head for his troubles. He was bandaged up and passed fit to continue.
While Soucek was being patched up, his teammate Ondrej Celuska was helped off by two teammates, having apparently pulled his hamstring or a calf muscle. He was replaced by Jakub Brabec.
It’s that man again ?
Patrik Schick giving Czech Republic hope!#EURO2020
— SOCCER.COM (@soccerdotcom) July 3, 2021
The heat and humidity had a heavy toll on the players and they started to lose their energy level – even though, this event has exploited all the normal limits of the Czech players whose shoulders dropped when they were needed to push their limits. They had surpassed the expectations and the kind of cutting-edge or charisma needed to progress further was heavily lacking among them.
Still, Couffal gathered all his skills and experience to weather the Danish storm – the Danish dug deep and blocked the spaces so that the Czechs become more exhausted.
Couffal drills a low ball into the Danish penalty area from the centre but it was hoofed clear by Andersen.
Jankto played the ball wide to Couffal on the right touchline. His cross was cleared. Another ball into the Danish penalty area is headed clear by Simon Kjaer, who led from the front, yet again.
Denmark advance to the semifinals.