Exhausted Denmark Defeat Czech Republic to Reach Euro Semi Finals

This is not anything Denmark would have believed possible. Yet, with the hardship of losing their top player in only the first game of Euro 2020, the Danes have proven resilient. There wasn’t much left in the tank for either them or Czech Republic, but the Danes managed to edge their opponents and reach the tournament’s Semi Finals.

Denmark vs. Czech Republic was not at all the match that football fans would have predicted ahead of the start of Euro 2020. Still, after both going head to head with some of the tournament’s stronger teams, it is difficult to call their participation in the Quarter Finals unwarranted.

Czech manager Jaroslav Silhavy, once again, opted to adapt to his opponent. It’s a strategy that has served his team well. The team began in a robust 4-2-3-1 formation. Patrik Schick, one of the Euro’s top scorers, acted as the team’s main goal threat. Thomas Soucek and Tomas Houles were tasked with keeping control of the midfield area.

Meanwhile, Denmark was the team setting the tempo for this one. Kasper Hjulmand, a highly popular figure in his country right now, chose a 3-4-2-1 formation. Jens Larsen and Joakim Maehle were chosen to give the team width and speed. Kasper Dolberg, who played great against Wales, was chosen to start in attack. Thomas Delaney acted as the team’s playmaker.

Ever since their 2nd game at the Euro, there’s been a feeling that Denmark simply cannot lose. It did not take long for the same atmosphere to install itself in the game against the Czech Republic. In only the 4th minute, Dortmund’s Thomas Delaney found space in the opposition’s box and headed home the ball to make it 1-0.

These types of matches can prove to be cagey affairs. The early goal saved viewers from this. The Czechs went looking for an equalizer and often left spaces for the pacey Danish attackers.

The Danes, once again, proved to be the more clinical of the two sides in the 42nd minute. Joakim Maehle found space down the flank and crossed to Kasper Dolberg. The Nice player handled the formality and scored with his right foot.

It wasn’t over, however. Czech Republic began the second half bravely and, in the 49th minute, their star forward Patrik Schick expertly found himself on the receiving end of Vladimir Coufal’s cross to score. With this goal, the forward remarkably equaled Cristiano Ronaldo’s five goal tally and became the joint top-scorer in the competition.

The two teams have done remarkably to reach this phase of the competition. In spite of a number of goal chances, the final minutes did reveal something about this season. The teams’ players looked knackered. Despite the Czechs nothing to lose and Denmark looking shaky, the Central Europeans looked incapable of troubling their opponents consistently.

Czech Republic do have a proud history in this tournament. In 1996 they were mere minutes away from winning the competition. Still, with all due respect, considering the team’s current squad capabilities, reaching the Quarter Finals was a major success. Having a striker that is likely to finish as the Euros’ top-scorer is icing on the cake. It will all help go a long way in making Czech football a much more attractive proposition for the following years.

Denmark, on the other hand, have nearly matched their greatest ever performance. Many of their performances have been memorable. Tonight was not one of those, but exhaustion played a big part. Regardless of what happens next, one thing is for certain. Hjulmand’s team has managed to unite around a potential tragedy, Christian Eriksen’s injury, and has united the country in the process.



July 3, 2021 – European Championship 2020 Quarter Finals

SCORERS: 5′ Delaney (D), 41′ Dolberg (D); 48′ Schick (R)

CZECH REPUBLIC (4-2-3-1): Vaclík; Coufal, Čelůstka (65′ Brabec), Kalas, Boril; Holeš (45′ Jankto), Souček; Masopust (45′ Krmencik), Barák, Ševčík (78′ Darida); Schick (78′ Vydra) Coach: Silhavy
DENMARK (3-4-3): Schmeichel; Christensen (80′ Andersen), Kjær, Vestergaard; Stryger-Larsen (70′ Wass), Højbjerg, Delaney (80′ Jensen), Mæhle; Braithwaite, Dolberg (59′ Poulsen), Damsgaard (59′ Norgaard) Coach: Hjulmand

REFEREE: Kuipers (Netherlands)
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Krmencik, Kalas (R); Added Time: 1st Half 3′, 2nd Half 6′