Denmark snatched second position in Group B with an exhilarating victory against Russia, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Mæhle scoring the crucial goals in a 4-1 Parken Stadium triumph.
Match in brief
Russia made a positive start and were nearly rewarded as Aleksandr Golovin dribbled through the centre of the Denmark defence from halfway, Kasper Schmeichel having to get down smartly to keep out his low drive. The Danes were not without a threat of their own, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg sending a shot whistling just past the post, before the same midfielder picked out Mikkel Damsgaard on the edge of the area in the 38th minute. One touch to his right and the Sampdoria man unleashed a fine curling effort that Matvei Safonov could only watch fly into his net.
Denmark needed more than one goal, and continued to push forward into the second half. They received a helping hand from Roman Zobnin, whose loose pass was tapped in by Yussuf Poulsen for the second goal. However, Danish hopes were back in the balance as Aleksandr Sobolev went down under Jannik Vestergaard’s challenge and Artem Dzyuba smashed in the penalty.
Undeterred, Denmark began to throw everything forward with increasing desperation that was rewarded when Russia could only clear as far as Christensen, whose first-time effort from 30 metres fairly flew into the net. With the Danish fans still celebrating, Mæhle danced into the penalty box and fired in a fourth goal and, after a nervous wait before Belgium’s 2-0 win against Finland was confirmed, the Danes’ party could start in earnest.
Star of the Match: Andreas Christensen (Denmark)
“A good defender who also stepped into midfield and scored a vital and excellent goal.”
Peter Rudbæk, UEFA Technical Observer
Artur Petrosyan, Russia reporter
Russia were good for 38 minutes, but that was nothing like enough. When they needed to switch to attack mode and create chances, shoot and score, not much really worked. Denmark are deserved winners here.
Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
A match like I’ve never seen before, and what a night for Denmark. They did exactly what they needed to do, and their reward was the three points that took them through to the last 16. Russia offered great resistance, but Denmark kept going and proved too strong in the end.
View from the stadium: Pelle Rasmussen, UEFA.com match reporter
Having been to every major international in Parken for the past decade, I can honestly say that this is hands-down the best atmosphere I’ve experienced – amazing considering it’s not at full capacity. Right from the off, the crowd was totally behind the team and when Christensen smashed in the third goal, everything went wild. Ten minutes after full time the stands were still full and the sound deafening, the spectators dancing in a sea of red and white.
- Denmark are into the knockout rounds for the first time since 2004, when they reached the quarter-finals.
- The Danes are the first team in EURO history to reach the knockout stage after losing their first two games.
- Aged 20 years 353 days, Damsgaard is the youngest Danish player to score at a EURO.
- Damsgaard has now struck three goals in five international appearances.
- Russia have kept only one clean sheet in their last 11 EURO final tournament games.
- Poulsen, who also found the net on Matchday 2, is the eighth Danish player to score more than one EURO finals goal.
- Christensen’s goal was only his second for Denmark on his 44th appearance.
- Mæhle has hit three international goals, and Denmark have scored four in all three matches in which he has found the target.
- Dzyuba now has 30 goals for Russia, equalling Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s national record.
Russia: Safonov; Mário Fernandes, Diveev, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov (Karavaev 67), Kuzyaev (Mukhin 67); Ozdoev (Zhemaletdinov 61), Zobnin; Aleksei Miranchuk (Sobolev 61), Golovin; Dzyuba
Denmark: Schmeichel; Christensen, Kjær, Vestergaard; Wass (Stryger 60), Hojbjerg, Delaney (Jensen 85), Mæhle; Braithwaite (Cornelius 85), Poulsen (Dolberg 60), Damsgaard (Nørgaard 72)