Czech Republic 1-2 Denmark: Compelling Danes edge into semi-finals
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Goals from Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg sent Denmark through to their first semi-final since 1992.
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Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg mustered the goals as Denmark edged past the Czech Republic to reach their first EURO semi-final since 1992 – when they went on to hoist the trophy.
Match in brief
Beaten 3-0 by the Czechs at this stage in 2004, Denmark quickly set the tone this time around. And it was Delaney who put them ahead inside five minutes, capitalising on slack defending to plant a powerful header past Tomáš Vaclík from a corner.
Minutes later, Jaroslav Šilhavý's side were in trouble again, Vaclík needing to block a Mikkel Damsgaard effort before Delaney scuffed wide. However, despite that bright spell, the Danes still had to keep their wits about them, as Kasper Schmeichel was forced to scramble back and atone for a wayward pass by denying Tomáš Holeš's subsequent shot.
As the half-time whistle loomed, Denmark doubled their advantage in style. This time, Joakim Mæhle's exquisite outside-of-the-boot delivery swerved into the stride of Dolberg, who only had to connect to steer into the roof of the net.
The Czechs faced a daunting task at the break but rallied just four minutes after the restart. Their goal came from a familiar source too, Patrik Schick guiding in from Vladimír Coufal's neat cross to become only the ninth player to net five times in a EURO final tournament – and revive his team's hopes.
Denmark kept up their threat in an entertaining second half, and the game looked to be over when Mæhle latched onto Yussuf Poulsen's through ball. Instead, Vaclík read the situation well to keep his side in the tie.
Tomáš Souček then went close late on as the Czech Republic chased their equaliser. It never came, and Kasper Hjulmand's men dug in to claim their third consecutive victory and book a place in the Wembley semi-finals.
Star of the Match: Thomas Delaney (Denmark)
"He scored an important first goal and worked hard in the middle of the pitch. An important player when transitioning forward, and he was able to organise key areas in the middle of the pitch. Not a star, but a hard worker."
Dušan Fitzel, UEFA Technical Observer
Check out every Heineken Star of the Match at UEFA EURO 2020.
Ondřej Zlámal, Czech Republic reporter reporter
The Czech's mighty EURO 2020 run is over, but they will leave with their heads high. They crashed out to a well-organised Denmark side, who punished their mistakes. However, Šilhavý's charges never gave up. Schick scored his fifth goal, and the Czechs gave it their all in search of an equaliser. I take my hat off to them. They showed team spirit, heart and commitment until the last minute, and the fans will certainly be proud.
Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
What a nail-biter! Denmark have made it through, but it turned out to be just as balanced as Hjulmand had predicted. After a first half where everything went Denmark's way, the Czechs overpowered the Danes as soon as the second half began. However, Denmark were able to contain the Czechs and cashed in a historic ticket for the semi-finals at Wembley.
Kasper Hjulmand, Denmark coach: "It's magical. The first thing I showed the boys when we met was a picture of Wembley, when we were there in the autumn. I said that we were going to come back. It was like we were playing in a Danish stadium because our dedicated fans came to support us in Baku. We're deeply thankful."
Thomas Delaney, Denmark midfielder: "It's fantastic. The match didn't develop as we had hoped, but we stood our ground. I couldn't care less about how the match went – now it's forgotten and we're through."
Simon Kjær, Denmark captain: "We had a goal before heading into this tournament, and that was to go back to Wembley. I'd be lying if I said that we're OK with reaching the semis. We need to recover and then we have another match in four days."
Vladimír Darida, Czech Republic captain: "We have nothing to be ashamed of. We put in good performances, showed fighting spirit and fought like the lions on our crest. That was obvious in today's match too. It's a pity we couldn't equalise because I believe the game would have turned our way."
Patrik Schick, Czech Republic forward: "We're very disappointed – it all ends here for us. I think we did everything to succeed, but we didn't have enough power to turn it in our favour in the final minutes."
Tomáš Vaclík, Czech Republic goalkeeper: "Nobody believed in us, but we stuck together. There is a strong team spirit – we have something special in this team. As time passes by, I think we'll only look back at positives in this tournament."
- Denmark have reached the semi-finals for the first time in 29 years – the longest gap in semi appearances in the competition's history.
- Denmark have become the first team to reach a EURO semi-final after losing their first two matches at the finals.
- Dolberg has now struck three EURO finals goals, making him Denmark's joint leading scorer in the competition alongside Frank Arnesen, Henrik Larsen, Brian Laudrup and Jon Dahl Tomasson.
- Denmark are unbeaten in their last seven matches against the Czech Republic (W2 D5).
- Denmark have lost only three of their last 17 international games (W12 D2 L3).
- Denmark have only failed to score in one of their last 16 international matches.
- Denmark have scored two or more goals in ten of their last 13 international matches.
- The Czech Republic's Patrik Schick has scored six goals in his last six internationals.
- Schick is the ninth player to hit five or more goals in a EURO final tournament.
- The forward also equalled Milan Baroš's record as the Czech Republic's all-time leading EURO marksman, with five goals.
Czech Republic: Vaclík; Coufal, Čelůstka (Brabec 65), Kalas, Bořil; Holeš (Jankto 46), Souček; Masopust (Krmenčík 46), Barák, Ševčík (Darida 80); Schick (Vydra 79)
Denmark: Schmeichel; Christensen (Andersen 81), Kjær, Vestergaard; Stryger (Wass 71), Højbjerg, Delaney (Jensen 81), Mæhle; Braithwaite, Dolberg (Poulsen 59), Damsgaard (Nørgaard 60)
Denmark – vs Ukraine/England in London, Wednesday 7 July