Denmark thump Wales to seal progression

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Dolberg of Denmark
  • Post published:June 26, 2021

A Kasper Dolberg double and late onslaught guided Denmark to an emphatic 4-0 win over Wales to send the Dragons packing from Euro 2020.

A repeat of the Welsh adventure of Euro 2016 was not to be, as Wales were stunned by a Kasper Dolberg brace, either side of half time. Perhaps most disappointingly for Wales fans, however, the Dragons did not have the chances to get back into the game, struggling to overcome the Danish, who set up brilliantly to nullify their opposition.

Wales controlled the opening exchanges, managing to pen the Danish in. Gareth Bale swung a shot narrowly wide of Kasper Schmeichel’s goal in the 10th minute, while Dan James and Aaron Ramsey also had deflected efforts in the first 20 minutes.

Denmark slowly grew into the game, however, putting Wales under more and more pressure. On 26 minutes, Kasper Dolberg – back at the Johan Cruyff Arena, where he played for Ajax for three years before moving to Nice – picked up the ball on the edge of the area from Mikkel Damsgaard, before curling a ball around two Wales defenders and beyond the reach of Danny Ward. Dolberg should have had a second after half an hour on the clock. Again, Damgaard was the orchestrator, cutting a low ball back for the striker to instinctively flick, a few yards out, only for Danny Ward to remain equal to it.

Denmark dominated swathes of the first half and things went from bad to worse around the 36-minute mark, with a double blow to Conor Roberts and Kieffer Moore, as Roberts pulled up with a groin injury – forcing him off in place of Neco Williams – before Moore jumped for a ball and received a second yellow card of the tournament, ruling him out of the next round.

Wales headed into half time in a familiar position, having been a goal down to Belgium, famously, in 2016 – but just three minutes into the second half, the Dragons found themselves two goals down. A Martin Braithwaite run resulted in a low-drilled ball across the six-yard box, which Neco Williams met with a scuffed clearance into Dolberg’s path. Dolberg didn’t hesitate with the gift at his feet, doubling his own tally and Denmark’s lead.

Rob Page’s side were shellshocked after the second goal. Wales passed the ball around nicely and had a couple of crosses from the right wing floated into the box but never fully recovered from the damage. A speculative effort Joe Allen and a blocked Dan James shot were about as close as the Dragons got.

Kasper Dolberg left the field to a hero’s reception after 70 minutes, with the game all but done and dusted. With Gareth Bale operating on the lefthand side for Wales, Rob Page’s team looked to whip crosses into the box, bringing on the likes of Harry Wilson, Tyler Roberts and David Brooks to freshen the side up.

Five minutes from time, Braithwaite should’ve made it 3-0, with Barcelona striker hit the post after a Danny Ward save and the rebound possibly hitting the other post. Joakim Maehle settled the game, however, with a third. He controlled a cross with his right foot and smashed the ball past Ward with his right, after he was left in acres of space in Wales’ box.

Matters managed to go from bad to worse for Wales when, in the 90th minute, Harry Wilson dived from behind to chop down Maehle. Shortly after, a Braithwaite smash low against Ward made it four –albeit after a long VAR check to confirm Chris Mepham’s foot played the forward onside.

Denmark were excellent throughout, though, and their professional display moves them into the last eight of the competition, setting up a tie against either the Netherlands or Czech Republic. For Wales, it’s back to the drawing board. The future of Rob Page as interim manager is uncertain, while Gareth Bale will face questions about whether or not he’s going to retire completely from the game.