Denmark secured an unlikely place in the last 16 years of Euro 2020 with an emphatic 4-1 victory against Russia, whose own hopes of qualification are over after finishing the bottom of the goal difference.
Belgium’s victory over Finland meant that Denmark came in second place in Group B – a scenario that was thought unthinkable after the first two matches of the tournament.
Aleksandr Golovin had the first big chance of the match and broke through Denmark’s defense before Kasper Schmeichel saved his shot from close range.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s effort from a distance almost found the net on the half hour mark and Denmark took the lead not far behind through Mikkel Damsgaard. The Sampdoria man curled one from 20 meters over the helpless Matvey Safonov.
As the game approached the hour mark, Denmark received a gift when Roman Zobnin’s horror back pass went straight to Yussuf Poulsen, who easily finished.
Substitute Kasper Dolberg had a great chance to seal the three points minutes later when they caught Russia napping again, but he could not control the ball when he was on goal.
Poulsen scored an important goal / Friedemann Vogel – Pool / Getty Images
Denmark’s initial hopes of taking second place first arose with just over 20 minutes left when Belgium went on to Finland before Romelu Lukaku’s strike was ruled out and Artem Dzyuba withdrew one from the place to drastically change the mood in Copenhagen.
But news filtered through that Lukas Hradecky’s own goal had put Belgium ahead, and the celebration began again, before Andreas Christensen’s emphasis and Joakim Maehle’s cool finish decided the point.
Here are your players’ ratings for a memorable night in the Danish capital …
Limbering up / STUART FRANKLIN / Getty Images
Matvey Safonov (GK) – 6/10 – Could see his lack of experience, despite some top stops. Igor Akinfeev would be proud.
Igor Diveev (CB) – 5/10 – Could not cope with Martin Braithwaite and Damsgaard’s tempo and tricks.
Georgiy Dzhikiya (CB) – 6/10 – The best of a bad Russian defense, but no real prices for it.
Fedor Kudryashov (CB) – 5/10 – Looked very nice and was lucky not to get a second yellow card.
The result of Zobnin’s mistake / Hannah McKay – Pool / Getty Images
Mario Fernandes (RWB) – 6/10 – Russia’s biggest outlet but he is a slow right back at the end of the day.
Magomed Ozdoev (CM) – 5/10 – Could not get close to their Danish counterparts in the middle of the park.
Roman Zobnin (CM) – 3/10 – Unnecessary back-pass to give Denmark total control.
Daler Kuzyaev (LWB) – 5/10 – Completely attached back by Daniel Wass, who was hardly fantastic.
Golovin goes close / Hannah McKay – Pool / Getty Images
Aleksey Miranchuk (RW) – 5/10 – Could not stamp his authority on the game despite his obvious quality.
Aleksandr Golovin (LW) – 7/10 – Russia’s best player, but thought it was difficult to influence when Denmark swarmed.
Artem Dzyuba (CF) – 4/10 – A hall of shame once again – and he scored!
Rifat Zhemaletdinov – 4/10
Aleksandr Sobolev – 4/10
Maksim Mukhin – N / A
Vyacheslav Karavaev – N / A
Who knew he had it in his closet? / Stuart Franklin / Getty Images
Kasper Schmeichel (GK) – 6/10 – A little to do, can not really go wrong not to save the penalty.
Andreas Christensen (CB) – 7/10 – Bloody hell, son, what a hit. Also some decent defense.
Simon Kjaer (CB) – 6/10 – Captured by Golovin in the first half, but handled well with Dzyuba.
Jannik Vestergaard (CB) – 6/10 – The punishment against him was mild, but may also have little to complain about.
Maehle stal showen / Wolfgang Rattay – Pool / Getty Images
Daniel Wass (RWB) – 6/10 – Added a lot of energy but little application.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (CM) – 7/10 – Checked the midfield all night and was unhappy not to score himself.
Thomas Delaney (CM) – 7/10 – In the same way, his class showed to trample on the Russian threat.
Joakim Maehle (LWB) – 9/10 – What an incredible achievement, creating chances and taking a deserved goal after a long night of torturing the Russian defense.
Braithwaite and Damsgaard were top class / Wolfgang Rattay – Pool / Getty Images
Martin Braithwaite (RW) – 8/10 – Did not stop running, did not stop pushing. A top performance from the Barcelona man.
Mikkel Damsgaard (LW) – 8/10 – Wow, scored a huge goal to put Denmark on the road.
Yussuf Poulsen (CF) – 7/10 – Always an inconvenience and was rewarded with a pretty lucky goal.
Kasper Dolberg – 7/10 – Should have had a goal, but his presence alone caused many problems for Russia
Jens Stryger Larsen – N / A
Christian Norgaard – N / A
Mathias Jensen – Not applicable