Denmark claimed second place in Group B with a devastating display of attacking football in Copenhagen.
Denmark snatched second position in Group B with an exhilarating victory against Russia, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Mæhle scoring the crucial goals in a 4-1 Parken Stadium triumph.
Match in brief
Russia made a positive start and were nearly rewarded as Aleksandr Golovin dribbled through the centre of the Denmark defence from halfway, Kasper Schmeichel having to get down smartly to keep out his low drive. The Danes were not without a threat of their own, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg sending a shot whistling just past the post, before the same midfielder picked out Mikkel Damsgaard on the edge of the area in the 38th minute. One touch to his right and the Sampdoria man unleashed a fine curling effort that Matvei Safonov could only watch fly into his net.
Denmark needed more than one goal, and continued to push forward into the second half. They received a helping hand from Roman Zobnin, whose loose pass was tapped in by Yussuf Poulsen for the second goal. However, Danish hopes were back in the balance as Aleksandr Sobolev went down under Jannik Vestergaard’s challenge and Artem Dzyuba smashed in the penalty.
Undeterred, Denmark began to throw everything forward with increasing desperation that was rewarded when Russia could only clear as far as Christensen, whose first-time effort from 30 metres fairly flew into the net. With the Danish fans still celebrating, Mæhle danced into the penalty box and fired in a fourth goal and, after a nervous wait before Belgium’s 2-0 win against Finland was confirmed, the Danes’ party could start in earnest.
Star of the Match: Andreas Christensen (Denmark)
“A good defender who also stepped into midfield and scored a vital and excellent goal.”
Peter Rudbæk, UEFA Technical Observer
Artur Petrosyan, Russia reporter
Russia were good for 38 minutes, but that was nothing like enough. When they needed to switch to attack mode and create chances, shoot and score, not much really worked. Denmark are deserved winners here.
Sture Sandø, Denmark reporter
A match like I’ve never seen before, and what a night for Denmark. They did exactly what they needed to do, and their reward was the three points that took them through to the last 16. Russia offered great resistance, but Denmark kept going and proved too strong in the end.
View from the stadium: Pelle Rasmussen, UEFA.com match reporter
Having been to every major international in Parken for the past decade, I can honestly say that this is hands-down the best atmosphere I’ve experienced – amazing considering it’s not at full capacity. Right from the off, the crowd was totally behind the team and when Christensen smashed in the third goal, everything went wild. Ten minutes after full time the stands were still full and the sound deafening, the spectators dancing in a sea of red and white.
Yussuf Poulsen, Denmark forward: “We were facing a team that defended well, especially in the first 60 minutes. Then we found the rhythm we needed to break them down. It was hard in the first half, but we did what we needed to. It was a fantastic piece of play from Damsgaard that opened it all up.”
Mikkel Damsgaard, Denmark forward: “It’s insane that we are through – this team, all of the players! It’s a great feeling. It’s fantastic to be part of this. I’d never dreamed of being part of something so great.”
Joakim Mæhle, Denmark defender: “It was absolutely insane. It’s indescribable. It was the same against Finland and Belgium – it keeps surpassing itself. I’ve never experienced anything like it. It was a magical atmosphere.”
Kasper Hjulmand, Denmark coach: “I’m out of words regarding my admiration for this team. They are so strong. I want to thank all of Denmark, the [fans in the] stadium. The love and care that the whole of Denmark has shown us helped the boys’ power go into their legs and out in this stadium.”
Stanislav Cherchesov, Russia coach: “I thanked the guys for what they’ve done. They were up for this game but it just didn’t go our way. We could have taken our chances in the first half but didn’t, then conceded a goal from a half-chance and couldn’t get back in the game. We have to think about all of this and move forward.”
Artem Dzyuba, Russia captain: “The first goal was out of the blue. Everything was working out but we did not score from good chances – and at this level, that is not forgiven.”