While Wales might have made the trip out to Amsterdam confident of extending on their European adventure on Saturday evening, it quickly became a nightmare round of 16 meeting against Denmark.
Despite a bright start in the opening exchanges, Robert Page’s temporary squad were eventually hit with a 4-0 drumming against the emotionally charged Danes and ended this summer’s European Championships with just a single win to their name.
With Nice striker Kasper Dolberg opening the scoring with a brilliant curling strike after 27 minutes, Denmark stormed their way to the quarter-finals in some style after a rampant display on foreign soil.
On an evening where Denmark laid down a clinical marker at the Johan Cruyff Arena, we have taken a look at the major talking points from Saturday’s meeting.
Watching Christian Eriksen go into cardiac arrest in their Group B opener against Finland earlier in the month, there is no doubt that the majority of neutrals from across the continent were backing Denmark to extend on their fairytale story.
Hit with that controversial 1-0 loss against The Fins when they returned to the pitch following those distressing scenes, the former European champions put on a monumental display in Amsterdam, one that their watching on talisman would have been proud of.
Completing what was a great escape to secure Saturday’s round of 16 showdown thanks to that 4-1 win against Ukraine last week, Denmark took full dominance after Dolberg opened the scoring midway through the first-half. In fact, breezing their way past a high-flying Wales, The Danes registered consecutive wins within a single major tournament for the first time since the 1986 World Cup.
With the hugely impressive Mikkel Damsgaard continuing to impress since after being forced to fill Eriksen’s void, Saturday’s hosts have rallied in an inspiration style and will head into next week’s quarter-final contest with the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.
A free-scoring statement
While Kasper Hjulmand would have been glad to see his side record their first clean sheet of the tournament, there is no doubt that Danish fans would have been most excited by another free-scoring display in Amsterdam.
In fact, after putting Ukraine to the sword in their crucial Group B matchup last week, Denmark are the first team to score 4+ goals in consecutive matches in European Championship history, and they had one leading marksman to thank.
Opening the scoring after 27 minutes, Kasper Dolberg done a stellar job of deputising for Yussuf Poulsen and the Nice striker became the second Denmark player to score two goals in a knockout game at a major tournament after Henrik Larsen v Netherlands at Euro 1992.
The next stop on their fairytale story will be Baku for a last-eight showdown against Holland or the Czech Republic next Saturday.
A Welsh nightmare
Stunning many across Europe five years ago as they booked themselves a historic semi-final showdown, Wales drastically failed to match that level in what quickly became a real nightmare on foreign soil.
Despite a bright start in Amsterdam and many believing that they had a real chance to break more history on the European stage, Robert Page’s squad were easily breezed aside by an inspired Denmark and failed to land any kind of blow after Dolberg’s first-half opener.
Eventually ending their summer adventure with just a single win to their name, The Dragons limped their way over the finish line on an evening that saw their biggest stars fail to make their mark. While Gareth Bale might have fizzed wide in the opening exchanges, Wales couldn’t find a route past a rugged Danish defence and managed just a single shot on target.
With their evening epitomised by Harry Wilson’s late red card, The Reds have lost consecutive major tournament matches for the first time in their history and it could be back to the drawing board.
Wales: Ward (3), Roberts (5), Mepham (4), Rodon (3.5), Davies (3.5), Morrell (4), Allen (4.5), Bale (3), Ramsey (3), James (3), Moore (4.5)
Subs: Wilson (2), Williams (3), Brooks (4), Roberts (4)
Denmark: Schmeichel (7), Christensen (6.5), Kjaer (7.5), Vestergaard (7), Stryger Larsen (7), Højbjerg (7.5), Delaney (7.5), Maehle (8), Braithwaite (8.5), Damsgaard (8), Dolberg (9)
Subs: Cornelius (8), Nørgaard (7), Jensen (7.5), Boilesen (7), Andersen (7)
Goals: Dolberg (27′, 48′), Maehle (88), Braithwaite (90′)
Yellow Cards: Rodon, Bale, Brooks, Moore
Red Cards: H. Wilson
Referee: Daniel Siebert
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