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Was Denmark's U21 EURO campaign a success?

Denmark exited the U21 EURO in chastening fashion on Saturday – was this one poor display in an otherwise impressive tournament or more indicative of their time in Prague?

Pierre Højbjerg slumps to the ground after Denmark's defeat by Sweden
Pierre Højbjerg slumps to the ground after Denmark's defeat by Sweden ©Getty Images

Denmark found it difficult to leave with their heads held high on Saturday. Indeed most of Jess Thorup's players emerged from the dressing room to speak to the media with shoulders slumped, their voices mumbled. "This will take time to heal because it really does hurt," said captain Jannik Vestergaard.

This was a curious tournament for the Danes; into the last four in Europe but beaten heavily twice in their four games in the Czech Republic. "I think we disappointed," said Ajax's Viktor Fischer. In contrast, Pierre Højbjerg suggested his country's performances in Prague offered up evidence of "a bright future". Newspaper Jyllands-Posten summed it up: "Danish football facing a new challenge".

There were times against Serbia on matchday three, for example, when Thorup's charges looked the real deal. In truth, though, they might have been held by the hosts in the opening game of the tournament and were roundly beaten by Germany – "a better side" according to Thorup. Did they excel themselves or have they underperformed?

Highlights: Denmark 1-4 Sweden

"We have something to build on," said Bayern München midfielder Højbjerg. "We have one more shot in the Olympic Games. When we look back we will be able to see that we won the group and got through to the semi-finals, which is not bad. But right now, the way we went out, it's not fun."

The Olympics is not the only event in summer 2016 that some of these players have their eye on. "It's frustrating to see your neighbours from the north beat you in this way, but let's hope we learn from this as we move on to bigger tournaments, starting with the European Championship next year," said Fischer. "Let's hope the adventure starts here."