A staunch defensive performance from Iceland that allowed Denmark just one clear chance ensured this UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off remained goalless after the first leg in Aalborg.
Denmark were the top scorers in the qualifying group stage with 37 goals. But without Yussuf Poulsen, Uffe Bech and Jores Okore, promoted to the senior side, they were unable to break down Iceland and have a difficult task in Reykjavik on Tuesday against the nation that knocked them out of their home finals in 2011.
The home team dominated play but Iceland set up a blue wall of 11 players that Denmark could not get through. AFC Ajax's former Aalborg BK player Lucas Andersen delighted the home crowd with some spectacular dribbles but it was Lasse Christensen who had the only real opportunity, unable to find the target with only Runar Runarsson to beat.
Lasse Christensen, Denmark midfielder
Once we found out they were playing 4-4-2, we hoped there would be some space between the lines, but the two lines stayed so compact that the midfielders and defenders could almost hold each other's hands.
We have to look for the right tools to crack open this rock-solid defence and we have to do it by Tuesday.
I feel we had some 'almost-chances' and when we get them in Iceland, we will have to take them. Unfortunately we didn't utilise the few chances we created today. But if you see it the other way around, they were never close to scoring today.
I just did a bad job when I got our best chance today. It was a good chance but a bad shot. I tried to hit the far corner with a hard shot but the timing was bad, and maybe I was put off a little by the defender behind me, but it was just not good enough. It frustrates me because it would have been nice to have scored a goal, then they would have had to come out of their shells when we play them in Iceland. But we are confident. The problem is not that you squander your chances, the problem is if you don't create chances at all.
Jannick Vestergaard, Denmark defender
They made it difficult for us with 11 men behind the ball all the time.
We should have taken the few chances we created but a goalless draw is not as bad as it looks on the scoreboard. It would have been worse if they had scored. Then it would have been a totally different game in Iceland on Tuesday.
Now we only have to score once in Iceland and that is a huge advantage against such a defensive-minded side as Iceland. Their way to get a good result here was to stay compact and not allow us any clear chances and they may have done everything right, even though it is not the most entertaining way to approach a game.
Orri Sigurdur Ómarsson, Iceland defender
Our dream result was a victory but it is OK to achieve a draw here in Denmark. We kept a clean sheet. Denmark are good. We couldn't play further up the pitch as they have so many quick players on the wings, so we couldn't leave any space behind us – that would have been too risky.
Maybe we looked very defensive-minded but it was not in our minds from the beginning to play that defensively.
Brynjar Gudjónsson, Iceland defender
Of course, an away draw is a really good result for us and it leaves everything open for the second game back in Iceland. They didn't score but away goals counts a lot so it would have been good to get a goal here, but anything can happen in Iceland. We never know what the weather will do, so anything can happen.
Our goal today was basically to avoid any goals against us. They have been saying in interviews that they would walk over us and they were cocky and it would be a walk in the park for them, but we showed them we are not a team you just walk over.
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