If she made a mistake in the loss to France, Denmark's Maria Christensen more than made up for it and she is ready to take her shot-stopping exploits into the England game.
Article top media content
Denmark goalkeeper Maria Christensen is confident her side will lay claim to a semi-final place – despite entering Sunday's deciding matches in third position in Group A.
Søren Randa-Boldt's team have some catching up to do after Thurday's 3-1 defeat by France left them a point behind both Les Bleuettes and England in the pool. Whatever France's result against Wales this weekend, Denmark know all permutations will be rendered superfluous should they beat England in Llanelli on Sunday afternoon.
Christensen is backing them to do it. "Yes, we shall beat England," she told UEFA.com. "We have to beat England!" Hers is a voice of relative experience too. The 18-year-old Fortuna Hjørring custodian featured in the Danes' run to the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-finals last year, straight from representing her country at the Women's U17 finals. So her response to the French reverse – only Denmark's second defeat in 16 games since September – was as calm as it was positive.
"My experiences last year have helped me with the tournament this time," she said. "I've played a lot of games for this team and this is my first loss. But I think losing will make us tougher and more ready for the next game. We all know that the England game is our chance to get to Canada."
Reaching the last four in south-west Wales would earn the Danish contingent a ticket to FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada. Christensen could help them get there if she maintains her eye-catching form from the France match. Although the teenager blamed herself for the French equaliser, which came within two minutes of Denmark's early opener, she then produced a series of fine stops – her personal favourite being from Claire Lavogez's point-blank header – to keep the scoreline respectable.
"In the first half, the first goal was definitely my [fault] and the second and third were a defender's mistake so we gave them three goals," said Christensen, who had registered a shut-out against Wales on Monday. "But I think we came back into it in the second half and we played OK. It was important for me to keep a clean sheet after half-time. You have difficult games at these tournaments and you have to be ready from the beginning – you could see that today. This is the challenge in these games."
The aim for Christensen, already a seasoned campaigner in the Danish Women's Premier League, is to carry on being tested by her international peers beyond the England showdown in Parc Y Scarlets. "It's nice to be here," she said. "Hopefully we'll win against England and move on in the tournament."