This was precisely the type of occasion Denmark had mapped out. On an Amsterdam night when the locals turned out to ship their like to Christian Eriksen, one other former Ajax prodigy propelled Denmark into the quarter-finals of the European Championship.
Twenty-nine years to the day since Denmark received Euro 92 Kasper Dolberg scored twice, the primary a scrumptious effort from exterior the field, to assist dispatch Wales with relative ease earlier than Joakim Mæhle and Martin Braithwaite sealed victory late on.
There was all the time going to be sufficient room for just one rousing story to proceed. “Guld for Eriksen,” had been the phrases emblazoned on one Denmark flag draped excessive tier of this stadium and in all places you appeared there have been banners in help of the midfielder.
Kasper Hjulmand clutched Dolberg’s face with pleasure as the striker left the pitch to a hero’s ovation and when Mæhle scored the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, couldn’t disguise her delight.
Wales had been shocked when Harry Wilson was surprisingly despatched off as stoppage time loomed however by that time the sport was nicely gone.
For the third time in 10 days, Wales confronted the problem of unpicking a workforce backed by a partisan crowd. There had already been Turkey in Baku and Italy in Rome however this was arguably the hardest job of all of them given the magnitude of the match.
About 5,000 Denmark supporters had been anticipated in Amsterdam however that quantity alone appeared to assemble in Rembrandtplein, one of many metropolis’s predominant squares, earlier than lunchtime.
Denmark followers had been granted a 12-hour window into the Netherlands and lots of boarded buses from Copenhagen late on Friday evening, which then waited on the German border, with the intention to meet restrictions.
Denmark supporters have fallen again in love with their workforce as soon as extra, stirred by Eriksen’s collapse at Parken a fortnight in the past, and the way it confirmed. Followers with face paint, Viking horns and jester hats made positive they had been heard and earlier than kick-off an enormous reproduction shirt bearing Eriksen’s identify and No 10 was unfurled on the pitch to rapturous applause. Gareth Bale offered the Denmark captain, Simon Kjær, with a framed Eriksen Wales shirt that learn “Brysia wella” – get nicely quickly.
Because the phrases to Re-Sepp-Ten appeared on the large screens above every purpose, Denmark’s supporters carried out a heart-warming rendition.
The scenes after Dolberg’s strike had been much less refined, with beer spilling down the terraces as followers allowed themselves to drink in a lovely strike. The transfer began on midway, when Mæhle fizzed a cross into the ft of Mikkel Damsgaard, an exuberant 20-year-old midfielder. Damsgaard spiralled away from Aaron Ramsey, prodded the ball into the trail of Dolberg and the blond ahead did the remainder. He took the cross in his stride on his proper foot, took a contact, then one other to regular himself and despatched a curling shot into the far nook.
The galling factor for Wales was that that they had began so brightly, with Bale significantly bubbly on the correct. He was drifting into roomy pockets, making an attempt his luck and seemingly within the temper. He despatched a few pictures broad, with one swerving dangerously previous Kasper Schmeichel’s purpose.
However after Dolberg’s strike all the pieces appeared to go incorrect for Wales. First, Connor Roberts was compelled off by means of harm on his sixty fourth look of a marathon season after which Kieffer Moore picked up a reserving, ruling him out of the quarter-finals if Wales had been to advance.
Wales had been lucky to go in on the interval trailing by one purpose. Not lengthy after Dolberg’s opener, some slack defending offered Damsgaard with an inviting alternative to bounce in off the byline with no purple shirt anyplace close to him. He drilled a teasing low cross into the six-yard field and Dolberg nonchalantly flicked the ball at purpose with the skin of his left boot. The Wales goalkeeper, Danny Ward, not for the primary time this event, made an instinctive right-hand save to maintain his workforce in it.
However three minutes into the second half Wales’s journey was as good as over. Braithwaite, hugging the touchline, chested a lofted ball after which simply bypassed Joe Rodon earlier than sliding an exquisite ball throughout the six-yard field. None of his Denmark teammates might maintain tempo so the ball as a substitute fell on the ft of the Wales substitute Neco Williams, seemingly in little hazard. However the full-back, on instead of Roberts, panicked and hacked a poor clearance straight to Dolberg, who wolfed up the possibility.
The substitute Mathias Jensen, of Brentford, went shut with an audacious strike from an angle after which got here one other refrain of “Oles” with 20 minutes to play. Denmark withdrew Thomas Delaney and the dainty Damsgaard on the hour mark, presumably with one eye on their quarter-final in Azerbaijan subsequent Saturday, however went for the jugular. Mæhle rattled in and, after a VAR test for offside, Braithwaite’s cool end was awarded.