Wales were eliminated in the second round of Euro 2020 as they lost to Denmark, whose impressive journey to the tournament continues into the quarter-finals.
Supported by a hot fervent, and nearly exclusive crowd in Denmark, Kasper Hjulmand‘s team took the lead as Kasper Dolberg staged a stunning 27-minute strike at the edge of the penalty area.
Dolberg hit again in the 48th minute. When he caught a defensive mistake by Welsh substitute Neco Williams to smash in the close range.
The goal knocked Wales down, who never looked to delay their return to the game as Joakim Maehle added a third late to the happy Danes.
Substitute Harry Wilson was given a straight red card for a foul on Mahle. Before Martin Braithwaite scored his fourth goal in the extra time as Wales’ campaign ended in a goalless match.
Robert Page’s men have done well to get out of a tough Group A that has also included Italy, Switzerland, and Turkey. But this attractive Danish team has shown a great challenge.
Denmark has already provided an exciting story for these finalist. By showing a good determination to reach this stage after recovering midfielder Christian Eriksen from a heart attack.
The next stop in their legendary tour will be Baku in the last-eight match against the Netherlands or the Czech Republic next Saturday.
As for Wales, they will return home exhausted. But, in time, they are proud of their efforts to reach the playoffs. And only when they appeared for the third time in a major tournament.
The long road of Wales comes to an end.
The journey to Wales so far had been long and arduous. When Denmark had the luxury of playing all three group games at home in Copenhagen. Page’s team traveled to the eastern camp of the tournament in Baku in two matches before facing Italy in Rome.
This was the third away game in Wales’ four matches. And, at first, they seemed to enjoy the challenge as they got off to a good start.
Captain Gareth Bale looked dangerous on the right. Cutting inside his left foot and sending a 20-yard shot just before finding space and creating chances to attack other attackers. However, that was a false dawn as Dolberg’s fine goal changed the game.
Since then, Wales found themselves retreating further into their half in the face of pressure and the injury to defender Connor Roberts and the yellow card of striker Kieffer Moore, which reduced his threat as a body attack.
Moore felt frustrated at not winning a free kick in the Danish second goal as he was manhandled by Simon Kjaer, who was thought to be making a mistake in his previous bookings.
But the goal was scored by Wales as Williams’ attempt to cross to Dolberg, who had an easy task to finish inside the box.
That was a physical blow to Wales, who looked powerless and thoughtless as they tried to return.
A two-goal defeat would have been disappointing enough, but the final five minutes saw them split. Admitting two late strikes and Wilson’s red card brought their campaign to a very frustrating end.
A home from home of Denmark.
Denmark not only had the opportunity to have thousands of fans with them in Amsterdam. But also with the support of locals and neutrals at the Johan Cruyff Arena, Eriksen’s former home while playing for Ajax.
The pre-match estimates of 5,000 Danes were still a long way off. Almost all 16,000 people in the stadium wore their colors and gave the game a solid feel for Hjulmand’s home game.
Denmark initially was slow to make that advantage count, but once Dolberg put them in front, they took total control.
Dolberg, another former Ajax player, played at the back of the Wales defensive backs. And was well supported in a wide range of key positions by key players Mikkel Damsgaard and Braithwaite.
Barcelona striker Braithwaite made the key to the second goal. Passing to Joe Rodon and shooting Williams with a low ball that diverted Dolberg’s path.
Denmark now had a lot of power, giving its fans another reason to rejoice when Mahlehle, unmarked in the back post, fired to the top corner.
Danish supporters have to wait to celebrate Braithwaite’s injury-time goal. Initially denied offside, the VAR decision meant they could continue with their team and advance in the tournament.