Denmark secure top spot with Russia victory

Denmark 4-2 Russia
Unbeaten Denmark won a straight shoot-out against Group 2 rivals Russia to claim top spot and a place in the play-off.

Jess Thorup masterminded Denmark's success
Jess Thorup masterminded Denmark's success ©Getty Images

A Danish side full of confidence overwhelmed their rivals for top spot in Group 2 to maintain their unbeaten record and secure a UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off place with a game to spare.

Russia's hopes of claiming top spot suffered a decisive blow against their opponents in Aalborg as Lasse Christensen's first-half brace and two further strikes after the interval completed a 4-2 victory. After Denmark won in Russia last year, Jess Thorup's side repeated the feat on home soil after Christensen gave the hosts the perfect start inside five minutes.

The midfielder was on hand to restore the lead (44) following Arshak Koryan's equaliser for the visitors (33). Russia succumbed to the fluid passing game of Denmark in the second-half as Jannik Vestergaard and Andreas Christensen completed the rout long before the visitors found the net through Denis Davydov (89).

Russia goalkeeper Anton Mitryushkin was left rooted to the spot as Christensen curled the opener home before adding another as the Danes deservedly led at the break despite Koryan’s effort. Vestergaard (56) and fellow defender Christensen (73) were on hand to exploit the space left by Russia in the second half to complete the victory as the Danes celebrated qualification in style.

Denmark coach Thorup was delighted with the victory: "Our goal was to qualify for the play-offs and I am extremely pleased we managed to do so with a record of seven wins, two draws and no defeats."