Capital Sports

Dolberg stars as Denmark outclass Wales to reach Euro 2020 quarter-finals

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Jun 26 Denmark marked the 29th anniversary of their greatest triumph by marching on to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 on Saturday as Kasper Dolberg scored twice in an emphatic 4-0 win over Wales before an exultant travelling support in Amsterdam.

In the city where Christian Eriksen made his name, it was Dolberg –- another former Ajax player –- who opened the scoring with a fizzing strike in the 27th minute.

That came after Wales had started so well but Denmark never looked back and Dolberg struck again just after the restart before Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite added more goals late on.

Carried by a wave of emotion, Danish dreams are still intact in a tournament that began in such traumatic circumstances for them with Eriksen’s collapse in their opening match against Finland in Copenhagen.

They now go on to a last-eight tie in Baku against the Netherlands or the Czech Republic.

Eriksen, still recovering at home after his cardiac arrest, was present in everyone’s minds at the home of Ajax, and that combined with a vast Danish support inside the one-third full Johan Cruyff Arena made this occasion like a Danish home game.

“It is hard to believe that this is reality,” said coach Kasper Hjulmand.

“Johan Cruyff is one of my great inspirations and this was also Christian’s first home after leaving Denmark.

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“I am really grateful for all the support we got, and the guys are true warriors. Being in the quarter-finals now is amazing.”

Danish fans descended on Amsterdam in their droves © POOL/AFP / Koen van Weel

European champions on this day in 1992, Denmark finally have their first win in the knockout phase of a Euro since then and it would be an extraordinary story if they could repeat the feat this time.

Nobody in Denmark will want to get ahead of themselves but Wales — who finished with 10 men after Harry Wilson’s late red card — could have no complaints about the outcome and there will be no repeat of their run to the semi-finals at Euro 2016.

– Bale: ‘Frustrated’ –

“It is a tough one to take. I don’t think the players deserved to leave the competition with that scoreline,” said Wales coach Robert Page.

They needed a moment of magic from captain Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey which never came, but they were up against it from the outset.

Aside from the universal goodwill towards Denmark following Eriksen’s collapse, a ban on travellers from the United Kingdom entering the Netherlands meant there were few Welsh supporters inside the stadium.

Danes, meanwhile, descended in their droves on Amsterdam, creating an atmosphere not far off that seen at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen when they beat Russia to reach the last 16 — even Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was in attendance.

To their credit Wales started well, with the probing Bale leading by example in the early stages.

It was a bad night for Gareth Bale and Wales © POOL/AFP / Kenzo Tribouillard

He crashed a shot just wide in the 10th minute, but then Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen –- Denmark’s third centre-back –- stepped up into midfield and they took control.

They were rewarded when Dolberg, now of Nice and selected ahead of Yussuf Poulsen in attack, collected the ball just outside the area and unleashed a superb strike into the far corner.

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For Wales, the signs that it was not to be their night kept coming, as right-back Connor Roberts came off with a groin injury, and Page’s side then fell further behind three minutes into the second half.

Neco Williams, the Liverpool full-back who replaced Roberts, tried to clear a Braithwaite cross but only succeeded in playing the ball straight to Dolberg who seized the chance to make it 2-0.

Bale and his teammates felt there had been a foul on Moore at the start of the move but the German referee waved away the complaints and the only surprise was that it took until the dying minutes for more goals to come.

Mathias Jensen picked out the unmarked Maehle to score the third in the 88th minute, before Wilson saw red for a foul on Maehle and Braithwaite made it 4-0, a goal given after a lengthy VAR review.

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