Denmark made it through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 impressively tonight and defeated Wales 4-0 in Amsterdam. The result was just what Denmark deserved as they largely outclassed Wales in an expected close match.
Wales actually started better with Gareth Bale looking threatening on the right side of the pitch and opening the Danish defense on a few occasions. However, a wise tactical change after around 15 minutes completely undermined the Tottenham loanee’s influence and from then on the game was all of Denmark.
The Danes opened the goal in the 27th minute with a beautiful Kasper Dolberg finish. And although Wales had half-time to regroup, a second Dolberg goal – albeit a controversial one – quickly doubled Denmark’s lead in the 48th minute.
Robert Page’s team tried hard to get back into the game but just couldn’t find a way. And their elimination from the tournament was thoroughly confirmed when Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite scored Denmark’s third and fourth goals on either side of a tough red card for Harry Wilson.
Here are five talking points from Denmark’s 0-4 win over Wales.
The brilliant start of # 1 Wales was ruined by a tactical move from Denmark
It would probably be surprising to someone who hasn’t seen this game to learn that Wales actually started on the much better side.
At least initially, Denmark didn’t seem to have a great response to Gareth Bale’s assault attacks on the right. He opened the Danish defense more than once and although Wales didn’t score, they looked the much more likely team that would.
But after around fifteen minutes, Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand made a brilliant tactical change that completely changed the game. He pulled Andreas Christensen out of the Danish three-way defense, practically put him on Aaron Ramsey and dropped the full-backs Jens Stryger Larsen and Joakim Maehle a little deeper to a four-way defense.
The change was immediate. With Ramsey now out of the game, a combination of Maehle and defensive midfielders Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg began to prevent Bale’s attacks on the right. And Wales, in turn, was limited to pumping Kieffer Moore long balls that had no effect.
From then on, the game was essentially won by Denmark.
# 2 Mikkel Damsgaard has replaced Christian Eriksen well
Many observers believed that Denmark’s chances of an impressive Euro 2020 were gone when the creative center Christian Eriksen suffered its shocking cardiac arrest two weeks ago in their team’s opening game against Finland.
However, after Sampdoria’s Mikkel Damsgaard struggled to prevail against Belgium, he has taken on the role of Eriksen and is doing a fantastic job.
Today’s game was another example of that. Kasper Dolberg’s finish to the opening goal was wonderful, but it was made by Damsgaard’s run and pass.
The 20-year-old was threatening throughout the game until – likely with a view to the quarter-finals – he was withdrawn after 60 minutes. But he still managed to finish the game with an impressive 83% success rate and make three key passes – more than any other player on the court.
Damsgaard obviously lacks Eriksen’s top experience but in this form he is definitely a worthy replacement for the Inter Milan man. And if he can continue to play like this in the quarter-finals, then a big move is likely for him in the summer.