Pernille Harder's header with 18 minutes left got Denmark off the mark in Group B despite stubborn Finland resistance.
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A Pernille Harder header 18 minutes from the end ensured Denmark's pressure told to get them off the mark in UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Group B and inflict a second defeat on Finland in Milton Keynes.
10' Korpela denies Nadim among first-half saves
72' Harder nods in opener
90+3' Christensen stops last-gasp Danielsson header
Match in brief: Harder delights Denmark
Keen to bounce back from Friday's 4-0 loss to Germany, Denmark took the game to Finland early on. But Anna Signeul's side, beaten 4-1 here by Spain, got to half-time level, the best Denmark chances both denied by Tinja-Riikka Korpela, who first clawed a Nadia Nadim shot off the line before thwarting Katrine Veje after a superb one-touch passing move. At the other end, an Emma Koivisto cross-shot flew just past the post.
Denmark kept up the pressure in the second half as Lars Søndergaard reshuffled his attack, but Korpela continued to stand tall – notably winning a one-on-one with Karen Holmgaard after the substitute had been set up by a fantastic Harder solo run and through ball. However, with 18 minutes left, the Finland goalkeeper was finally beaten as a Holmgaard header hit the crossbar and Harder pounced to nod in.
It seemed Denmark would see the game out comfortably, but deep in added time Jenny-Julia Danielsson threatened with a curling shot shortly after coming on. Lene Christensen produced a brilliant one-handed save to seal the points, having barely been called into action until her spectacular stop.
Visa Player of the Match: Pernille Harder (Denmark)
"Scored the winning goal in a tight game. Her alertness and quality made the difference."
UEFA Technical Observer panel
Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
Denmark finally scored a goal, but the three points were the most important thing. On a night in Milton Keynes where you could cut the air thick with heat and intensity, Denmark fought hard for their first victory and kept their quarter-final dream alive. Another make-or-break match awaits in Brentford against Spain on Saturday.
Mikael Erävuori, Finland reporter
Finland put in a good showing in a match that remained very much open until the Denmark goal. Finland put up a good fight, but it was not quite enough today. Defensively this was a solid performance and Korpela excelled once again with a brilliant display in goal.
Lars Søndergaard, Denmark coach: "When you're only leading by one goal, it's always going to be hectic at the end. We were nervous, of course, but I think the players did quite well when they came under pressure. Our goalkeeper made only her second save in the 92nd minute, and for that I'm happy."
Katrine Veje, Denmark defender: "We had the ball for most of the game, and we had the chances as well. We scored an important goal, and after that we just needed to defend. But it was very close towards the end. I'm happy we have such a great goalkeeper."
Anna Signeul, Finland coach: "Denmark are a very good team, but I think we played a good game. It was a tough match and a tough loss. But I am proud of my players; we had some fantastic individual performances on top of the team performance."
Essi Sainio, Finland midfielder: "We were pretty good, but it was not quite enough. I think we had a chance to win – I always believe until the end. I think we all thought the ball was going in the net from Jenny Danielsson's shot at the end, but it was a fine save from the goalkeeper."
- Harder, who extended her Denmark tally to 69 goals, also scored Denmark's last Women's EURO finals goal, in the 4-2 defeat by the Netherlands in the 2017 decider.
- Denmark avenged group defeats by Finland in 2005 and 2009, both of which proved critical in deciding group qualification.
- Finland are now without a win in their last seven Women's EURO finals games since beating Denmark and the Netherlands to go through with a match to spare at home in 2009.
Denmark: Christensen; Sevecke, St. Pedersen, Veje; Thomsen, So. Pedersen, Troelsgaard (K. Holmgaard 64), Thrige (Svava 56); Nadim (Bredgaard 56), Bruun (Larsen 64), Harder (Boye Sørensen 87)
Finland: Korpela; Koivisto, Westerlund (Danielsson 90), Kuikka, Pikkujämsä; Sainio, Alanen, Summanen, Öling; Sällström (Ahtinen 76), Franssi