Denmark remarkably booked their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 with a stirring 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen on Monday.
After losing 1-0 to Finland – a game overshadowed by the cardiac arrest suffered by Christian Eriksen – and 2-1 to Belgium, Denmark’s hopes of making the knockout stages were slim before the clash at the Parken Stadium.
Kasper Hjulmand’s side delivered a sensational display, though, to claim a first win of the tournament – and seal second spot in Group B courtesy of Finland’s defeat to Belgium – Mikkel Damsgaard and Yussuf Poulsen putting them 2-0 up before the hour mark.
Artem Dzyuba pulled one back for Russia from the penalty spot, but Denmark secured a thrilling victory late on thanks to goals from Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle, sparking jubilant scenes in the Danish capital and setting up a showdown with Wales in Amsterdam on Saturday.
Despite a fast-paced start, the first shot on goal did not come until the 18th minute, Kasper Schmeichel keeping out Aleksandr Golovin’s strike with his feet.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who missed a penalty against Finland, went close with Denmark’s first shot shortly before the half-hour mark, the Tottenham midfielder’s superb 30-yard drive flashing just past Matvey Safonov’s right-hand post.
The Parken Stadium erupted seven minutes before the interval when Damsgaard whipped his third international goal into the top-right corner from 25 yards.
Things got even better for Hjulmand’s side in the 59th minute when Daler Kuzyaev inexplicably rolled the ball into the path of Poulsen, who clipped his 10th international goal past the despairing dive of Safonov.
Russia reduced the deficit in the 70th minute, though, Dzyuba stroking home his spot-kick after Jannik Vestergaard was adjudged to have brought down Alexander Sobolev in the area.
Denmark restored their two-goal advantage nine minutes later when Christensen lashed home from 25 yards after Safonov had made quickfire saves from Simon Kjaer and Martin Braithwaite.
And a wonderful win was wrapped up in style in the 82nd minute when Maehle cut inside from the left after an incisive counter-attacking move and fired past a beleaguered Safonov.
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