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Denmark face an anxious wait to learn if they will earn a UEFA Women's EURO 2013 quarter-final berth as one of the best third-placed teams after a 1-1 draw with Finland, who are out as a result.
Andrée Jeglertz boldly predicted that Finland would outscore their Nordic counterparts, with both needing a win to stand any chance of overhauling Group A pacesetters Sweden and Italy. His words looked to have little substance, however, as Denmark took a vice-like grip on proceedings and gained their reward when Mia Brogaard scored for the second game running after 29 minutes.
So comfortable in possession, Kenneth Heiner-Møller's team looked in little danger of conceding until Annica Sjölund struck at the death, meaning they must wait on results elsewhere before learning their fate.
Denmark were swift to examine whether Finland still bore the defensive scars incurred during their chastening 5-0 loss to the hosts last time out. Theresa Nielsen led the charge, measuring a pass for sidekick Nadia Nadim, whose sumptuous chip on the angle was wrestled from underneath the crossbar by Minna Meriluoto. Pernille Harder's subsequent run and finish drew a more comfortable save from the Finland goalkeeper, but the warning signs had been posted.
The team in red and white were painting a dominant picture, and midfield schemer Mariann Knudsen was the artist masterfully wielding the brush with delicate poise. Finland were wobbling, with Meriluoto turning Nadim's goal-bound header round a post after Cecilie Sandvej's pinpoint cross from the left.
The tide of pressure, already ferocious, eventually yielded a breakthrough. Knudsen's free-kick from the right was batted away by Tiina Saario into the path of Brogaard, who rifled in from the edge of the area in one sweeping movement. Only Meriluoto's fingertips denied Rydahl a fortuitous second on the stroke of half-time as Finland paused for breath.
Denmark resumed with the same authority after the break, Rhydal's penchant for cutting in from the right almost paying a rich dividend as she swept a shot centimetres over. Forward Harder had yet to score in Sweden and toiled in vain to do so, having a succession of speculative efforts blocked. Her frustrations were compounded three minutes from time when Sjölund lept highest to turn Emmi Alanen's corner into the roof of the net.
Player of the match: Katrine Søndergaard Pedersen (Denmark)
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