Denmark 0-2 Belgium: Denayer and Mertens seal victory

Strikes from Jason Denayer and Dries Mertens gave the Red Devils a winning start.

Highlights: Denmark 0-2 Belgium
Highlights: Denmark 0-2 Belgium

The visitors opened their campaign confidently in Copenhagen thanks to goals from Jason Denayer and Dries Mertens.

Denmark vs Belgium: as it happened

Match in brief

Belgium attacked from the off and sent out an early warning sign when Yannick Carrasco's free-kick hit the woodwork. Just seconds later the visitors were in front when Denayer pounced for his first international goal from Mertens' corner.

Mertens doubled the lead with a quarter of an hour remaining, side-footing in from close range after the forward was quickest to react to Kasper Schmeichel's save from Youri Tielemans. Denmark rarely threatened, with Christian Eriksen forcing Simon Mignolet into his only save of the match midway through the first half.

Dries Mertens celebrates sealing the victory
Dries Mertens celebrates sealing the victoryBELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Reporters' views

Sture Sando, Denmark reporter: Kasper Hjulmand's first match in charge was maybe not the debut of his dreams, but considering his team were facing one of the best sides in the world, there must be parts of this performance that will have given him cause to feel proud.

Dante Bellon, Belgium reporter: Belgium played a very mature game despite being without key players. Denmark pressed well during the first half, but an early goal from Denayer helped the Red Devils breathe a little easier.

Denmark suffered their first home defeat in almost four years
Denmark suffered their first home defeat in almost four yearsBELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images

Reaction

Kasper Hjulmand, Denmark coach: "We played a really good first half. I'm hugely disappointed with the second. When Belgium take the lead, they are very hard to handle."

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Denmark midfielder: "There were some good moments, but there were also parts of the game where we were exposed a little. I definitely think there are aspects that we can take with us and continue to work on."

Dries Mertens, Belgium goalscorer: "It took a little time to adapt. Our second half was better, but I must say that the first goal was very welcome."

Roberto Martínez, Belgium coach: "It was a difficult start to the game for us, but my team's reaction in the second half was very good."

Dries Mertens scores Belgium's clinching second goal
Dries Mertens scores Belgium's clinching second goalRitzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images

Key stats

  • Belgium secured their first competitive victory against Denmark since May 1971.
  • The Red Devils recorded an 11th successive win in all competitions, scoring 42 goals in that time and conceding just three.
  • Denmark suffered their first home defeat in almost four years – since the 1-0 World Cup qualifier loss against Montenegro in October 2016.

Line-ups

Denmark: Schmeichel; Wass (M Jørgensen 84), A Christensen, Kjær, Skov; Eriksen, Højbjerg, Delaney; Y Poulsen, Dolberg (Cornelius 84), Braithwaite (Mæhle 73).

Belgium: Mignolet; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen; Castagne, Tielemans (Doku 88), Witsel, T Hazard; Mertens (Trossard 81), R Lukaku, Carrasco (Praet 57).

Next up

Both teams are in action again on Tuesday, when Denmark host England and
Belgium take on Iceland in Brussels
.