The impressive Euro 2020 campaign of Denmark continues as they marched on to the semi-finals to beat the Czech Republic in Baku.
The Danes have continued to thrive in the tournament since the trauma of their opening game, in which midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a heart attack.
Having beaten Wales in the last 16 games, they openly faced the dangerous and physical Czech in Azerbaijan’s last eight competitive heat-up competitions.
They led from the fifth minute when Thomas Delaney defended his mark to get in from the corner.
Their enthusiasm was tested early in the second half when Patrik Schick cooled his fifth goal of the tournament, making him level with Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the Golden Boot race.
In addition, Denmark managed to recompose and stepped in to secure victory and a semi-final at Wembley on Wednesday. Their opponent will be England after they beat Ukraine tonight.
Denmark creates another fairytale.
It has been almost three decades since Denmark shocked the continent with their Euro ’92 victory, taking the opportunity to be called up to the finals late to produce their country’s biggest game.
They are currently in the process of writing another and fairytale in the competition.
Their campaign lasted just 41 minutes when Eriksen collapsed before receiving CPR on the pitch as his seemingly anxious colleagues surrounded him and fans around the world watching in horror.
Now those players are just 90 minutes away from the finals after another glorious team show that stands as a testament not only for their skill and strategic ingenuity but a renewed bond between them, built on adversity.
They were clever in the first half, rallied and rallied in the background, and ruthless and quick in opposing attacks. Unfortunately, although they fully deserved their lead by two goals and could have gotten more, Delaney wasted the best of their chances by putting a lot of effort into his knee.
Czech republic took them out of comfort zone.
The highly developed Czech team took them out of their comfort zone after the break. Still, goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and defensive trio Andreas Christensen, Simon Kjaer, and Jannick Versergaard in Denmark got the stubbornness and leadership they needed to get the game out.
The Danes’ first win over the Czechs in the Euros gives them a place in the 2004 quarter-final defeat when Milan Baros’ two goals helped his country win 3-0.
Baros finished the tournament with five goals, a figure now estimated by Schick, who will do his job unfairly by showing his country this summer.
However, the Danes continued their amazing journey, with London moving on.
Credit also for 1,000 Danish fans or more who traveled 2,000 miles to Baku, knowing that Covid’s quarantine rules meant they could no longer attend the semi-finals or the finals if their country got there.
‘Christian should have been here.’
After the game, Danish coach Kasper Hjulmand said he felt his team would have Eriksen in their thoughts as they struggled to continue their run at Euro 2020. “I can feel it,” he said.
“The world of football realized that for the second time. And in the days that followed, the most important things in life and football, the basic values of football came at that time.
“There are many other goals in football. But we all remember why we started playing football, what football values were derived from, and we had a reminder of this.
“And I am still thinking of Christian every single day in every game. He should have been here.
“We’re glad he survived. We carry him to this game to Wembley. I think about him all the time during game.
“Moreover, we all have understood that perhaps how the standards of the game, football had came through. And maybe we were a symbol of it, I could not be happier than that.
“The team showed up without being told. That’s how you should behave. “
“In addition, it was really incredible how the team had responded to the situation, the compassion and all the love they have showed during the game, but also the people of Denmark.
“We’re just happy and proud. And maybe we can just remind ourselves the reason why we love football and what football can do in the world.”