Euro 2020: Defiant Denmark Soar into the Last Sixteen

With 15 minutes to play in Denmark’s final Group B match against Russia, qualification was resting on a knife-edge. 


The Danes were leading 2-1, after Russia had scored a penalty just a few minutes earlier. A Russian equalizer would knock Denmark down to single point, and out of contention for the knockout round. Similarly, an equalizer for Finland in their game against Belgium would drop the Danes to third place, out of the automatic qualifying spots.


Denmark could either hang on and hope other results went their way, or they could take control.  With flying colors, they did the latter.



In the 79th minute, Andreas Christensen unleashed a thunderbolt that induced bedlam in the Parken Stadium. 


A few moments later, Joakim Mӕhle finished off a counter attacking move to put any remaining questions to bed. The 24-year-old midfielder celebrated by forming the number ten with his hands. In doing so, he reminded the world exactly who this victory was for.


In Saint Petersburg, Christian Eriksen’s Inter Milan teammate Romelu Lukaku doubled Belgium’s lead, solidifying Denmark’s second-place finish.


Nine days after narrowly avoiding an unimaginable tragedy at the Parken Stadium, this Danish team turned the exact same pitch into the stage for a mighty celebration. 



What’s Next for Denmark


Denmark’s Round of 16 match will be a date with Wales in Amsterdam. On one hand, this match is a chance for an incredible story to continue unfolding. In some ways, however, it seems that the final outcome matters very little. 


After such a traumatic opening match, nobody would have blamed Denmark if they went through the motions for the rest of the tournament. Instead, they rallied together to deliver a marvelous performance to conclude the group stage. 


The outpouring of emotion from the fans and players alike in the final few minutes of the match was incredible to witness. 


It was as though everything the country had endured in the previous two weeks had been channeled into this game. The final two goals provided the exact outlet that was needed for those emotions to come to the surface.


There is still a way to go in Euro 2020, but the tournament will be hard pressed to produce a more sentimental moment than this one. 


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