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Thorup encouraged by Denmark displays

The March performances of keepers Jakob Busk Jensen and Frederik Rønnow, new left-back Patrick Da Silva and two clean sheets bode well for Denmark ahead of the finals.

Denmark's Emil Berggreen (left) and Portugal defender Paulo Oliveira vie for possession
Denmark's Emil Berggreen (left) and Portugal defender Paulo Oliveira vie for possession ©Getty Images

Clean sheets in their two recent friendlies have increased the feel-good factor in the Denmark squad ahead of June's UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in the Czech Republic.

Under pressure for long spells, and grateful to Jakob Busk Jensen for a first-half penalty save, Jess Thorup's team drew 0-0 against fellow finalists Portugal in an away friendly on 26 March. Five days later, Andreas Cornelius's goal consigned the United States' U23 side to defeat in Lyngby, leaving Thorup satisfied with one warm-up match, against Sweden on 11 June, to come before their tournament opener.

Denmark goalkeeper Jakob Jensen
Denmark goalkeeper Jakob Jensen©Getty Images

Goalkeepers excel
Sandefjord Fotball shot-stopper Busk Jensen frustrated Portugal. He saved Sérgio Oliveira's spot kick and denied Gonçalo Paciência midway the second half, ensuring Denmark became the first team to prevent Portugal from scoring in two years. Frederik Rønnow then showcased his talents against the US. The AC Horsens keeper replaced David Jensen at half-time and prevented the visitors from equalising with a string of fine saves.

Da Silva does well
Patrick Da Silva was the only debutant against the Portuguese and did his cause ho harm with an assured display in the face of sustained pressure. The 20-year-old Brøndby IF left-back kept his place for the visit of the US.

Substitutes shine
As well as Rønnow, Cornelius made his presence felt after coming off the bench for the second half of the US match. Within seven minutes, the tall FC København striker received the ball with his back to the goal, turned and fired in his second U21 goal.

Denmark expect stern test
Denmark expect stern test

Still a 'bit hectic'
Thorup saw improvement in Denmark's performance against the US, particularly in attack. He added: "We created quite a lot of opportunities and scored a great goal. I am also happy with our defence. The defensive part of our game worked really well."

However, one aspect of Denmark's displays still requires fine-tuning. "We still get a bit hectic at times, as was the case in the latter part of the match against the USA. We should have managed to close out that game match before we did. We have had two fine tests, though, and ten good days together. They were important, as I am not seeing the players again for more than two months now."