3rd July, 2021
Denmark’s dream run at Euro 2020 continued on Saturday in Baku with a 2-1 victory over the Czech Republic for a place in the semi-finals, the first since 1992.
This has come after two opening defeats and captain Christian Eriksen near-death drama.
Thomas Delaney headed the opening goal in the fifth minute and Kasper Dolberg made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute in the sweltering Azerbaijani capital.
Patrik Schick revived the Czech’s hopes in the 49th minute with his fifth goal of the tournament, but they could not manage an equaliser.
Denmark beat the Czechs for the first time at the Euro finals, having lost 3-0 at the same stage in 2004 and also 2-0 in the 2000 group stage.
They are in the last four for the first time since winning the trophy in 1992.
The Danes will face England or Ukraine on Wednesday at Wembley for a place in the July 11 final.
“It is huge, it is crazy. We had a goal: we wanted to return to Wembley,” Denmark captain Simon Kjaer said.
Czech Republic’s Vladimir Darida on his part said: “There is nothing we should be ashamed of because we fought like the lions on our crest.”
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said: “I am so proud. The team was outstanding and left everything on the pitch.
“I am also proud of the Danish people. We have so much love. They are so proud and this is a super moment.”
Denmark have had a fairytale run amid huge support since losing the first two group games against Finland and Belgium.
Also, Eriksen had earlier needed to be revived on the pitch after suffering cardiac arrest in the game with the Finns.
They put four past Russia to reach the knockout stage and another four past Wales in the last 16.
The team also started with a bang against the Czechs who were coming off a 2-0 win over the Netherlands.
The Scandinavians got a corner-kick which the Czechs contested but was not subjected to video review.
Delaney was completely unmarked to head home off Jens Stryger Larsen into the bottom left corner.
Denmark doubled their lead shortly before half-time.
Dolberg smashing his third goal of the tournament into the roof of the net off Joakim Maehle’s classy curling cross with the outside of his right foot.
However, the Czechs were far from beaten and launched an all-out attack after the break.
Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel made big saves against substitute Michal Krmencik and a half-volley from Antonin Barak.
But he was beaten on the Czechs’ third chance when Schick slotted into the bottom left corner off Vladimir Coufal’s cross from the right.
Schick’s fifth goal of the tournament makes him joint top scorer with super star Cristiano Ronaldo of eliminated title-holders Portugal.
It took Denmark several minutes to regroup before they started attacking again.
Czech goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik had to save twice from substitute Yussuf Poulsen and also the biggest chance from Maehlie in the closing stages.
Schick left in the 79th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring problem.
Jan Boril joined team-mate and captain Tomas Soucek with a big bandage around his head for the final minutes.
This was as Denmark also survived a final effort from Antonin Barak deep into stoppage-time.
“We were too passive at the start of the second half. I think the lads were tired,” Hjulmand said. “But we are happy and enjoying the moment and then on Wednesday the big match.”