Two second-half goals from Milan Baroš and a Jan Koller header proved too much for Denmark and powered the Czech Republic into the semi-finals of UEFA EURO 2004, where they will meet Greece on Thursday.
A scoreless and tense first half did not set the tone for the deluge of goals that followed, but Koller set the Czechs on their way four minutes into the second period when he rose unchallenged to head Karel Poborský's corner past Thomas Sørensen in the Danish goal.
Denmark, now forced into committing more resources into attack, were caught out twice in defence as the Czechs ruthlessly exploited their lapses in concentration. First Poborský curled a low pass through to Baroš who then clipped the ball over the diving Sørensen after 63 minutes. Two minutes later, the game as a contest was over as Baroš ran on to Pavel Nedvěd's through ball and drilled in his fifth goal in four games, making the Liverpool FC striker the tournament's top scorer.
Denmark coach Morten Olsen made three changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Sweden. Niclas Jensen, already ruled out having been forced off by an ankle injury five days ago, was again replaced by Kasper Bøgelund. Ebbe Sand's calf injury meant Jon Dahl Tomasson moved into a more attacking role with Claus Jensen entrusted with playmaking responsibilities. Christian Poulsen was brought in to man-mark Nedvěd at Daniel Jensen's expense.
Karel Brückner, who effectively fielded a reserve side in the final Group D game with Germany, made wholesale changes, with only Martin Jiránek, René Bolf and Tomáš Galásek keeping their places in the starting lineup. And the well-rested Czechs, who had won eight consecutive matches in the competition, started brightly. Sørensen was forced into action as early as the third minute when he dived low to his left to gather a Nedvěd free-kick.
Baroš might have done better two minutes later when Tomáš Rosický headed the ball into his path inside the penalty area from another Nedvěd free-kick. Koller then got in on the act, but his header from Poborský's right-wing cross sailed over, before Galásek shot narrowly wide of Sørensen's right-hand post with a low drive from 20 metres.
However, Denmark were not being overrun and responded with two genuine scoring opportunities of their own. First Jensen passed to Poulsen inside the penalty area, and he sidestepped Galásek's sliding challenge only to see his shot blocked by Tomáš Ujfaluši. The same pair combined moments later, but this time Poulsen's header from 15 metres was narrowly wide of Petr Čech's right-hand post from Jensen's free-kick.
The match settled into a midfield stalemate until Poborský burst clear down the right channel in added time at the end of the first half. With Koller in the centre, the midfielder opted to go himself but his cross-shot swung out of play before clipping the crossbar.
Having scored quickly after the restart, the Czechs forced Denmark to become more attack-minded, and Olsen's side were almost rewarded in the 53rd minute, but Tomasson's header was blocked by Marek Jankulovski following some trickery by Martin Jørgensen inside the penalty area.
Czech substitute Zdenek Grygera then blocked Jørgensen's shot on the edge of the box in the 58th minute as the Czechs managed to keep the Danes at bay before Baroš' double strike put the result beyond doubt.