Despair turned to exhilaration for Denmark as they claimed an astonishing 4-1 victory over Russia to scramble into the last 16 of Euro 2020 on a head-spinning evening in Copenhagen on Monday.
9 days after Denmark’s talisman Christian Eriksen wanted life-saving therapy after struggling a cardiac arrest in entrance of a surprised Parken Stadium crowd, his group mates duly delivered on their promise to “do it for Christian”.
Needing victory to have any probability of making progressafter dropping to Finland and Belgium, it was Eriksen’s substitute Mikkel Damsgaard who lit the touchpaper with a Thirty eighth-minute marvel objective, the primary act on an evening of excessive drama.
When a dreadful mistake by Russia’s Roman Zobnin allowed Yussuf Poulsen to double the lead on the hour, it appeared as although destiny was smiling kindly on Denmark.
It was not that easy as even a win wouldn’t have been enough had Finland averted defeat by Belgium, a match bizarrely being performed in St Petersburg.
The script took a darkish flip when Russia’s big striker Artem Dzyuba transformed a penalty at virtually the precise second a Belgium opening objective was being disallowed by VAR.
However every part turned out alright in the tip as Andreas Christensen’s screamer and Joakim Maehle’slate effort accomplished the demolition of Russia and Belgium beat Finland 2-0.
The stadium erupted and beer crammed the air on the ultimate whistle as Denmark remained alive and kicking in a match which simply over per week in the past appeared trivial following Eriksen’s brush with demise.
Denmark, Finland and Russia all completed Group B on three factors, behind Belgium, however the Danes edged by on objective distinction and might now stay up for taking up Wales in Amsterdam whereas Russia are going dwelling.
They’re the primary group in the historical past of the Euros to succeed in the knockout stage after dropping their first two video games however it took some time for the message to get by to Denmark’s gamers, who huddled collectively in the centre circle round a telephone for affirmation of Belgium’s win over the Finns.
“It’s so insane that we’ve gone by. This group, these gamers. It’s nice to be an element of it,” mentioned Damsgaard, the 20-year-old who has stepped into Eriksen’s boots.
“I’ve by no means dreamed of being an element of one thing so large, so it’s a terrific feeling.”
Apart from a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg shot that fizzed extensive early on, Denmark have been struggling to make a lot headway towards a disciplined Russia facet for whom Alexander Golovin might have opened the scoring after a weaving run.
With no margin for error, there was a rigidity about Denmark’s play and Russia had briefly turned down the noise being generated by the 23,000-strong crowd resembling a stable purple wall.
“It’s the primary time I’ve seen help like this,” Russia keeper Matvei Safonov mentioned. “One of their gamers simply completes a move and the entire stadium is on their toes.”
They have been in ecstasy in the Thirty eighth minute when Damsgaard produced a second of magic Eriksen could be proud of.
Receiving a move from Hojbjerg, he took a silky contact along with his left foot and opened his physique to swerve an impressive right-foot shot past Russia keeper Matvei Safonov.
If Denmark’s opener was chic, their second on the hour mark was ridiculous. Zobnin inexplicably performed a move again in direction of his keeper with out wanting and Poulsen accomplished the best of duties to attain.
Denmark have been rampant, however every part went flat as Russia have been awarded a penalty after Jannik Vestergaard fouled Alexander Sobolev — and big striker Dzyuba thumped the ball previous Kasper Schmeichel to revive their hopes.
The temper in the stadium grew to become jubilant as information filtered by that Belgium had lastly taken the lead and Denmark rode the purple wave to complete with a flourish.
Christensen latched on to a clearance to smash an unstoppable shot previous Safonov from 25 metres earlier than Maehle fired dwelling his facet’s fourth to make completely certain of a reaching the knockout part for the primary time since 2004.