Wales left Euro 2020 in the round of 16 as Denmark continued their emotional quest for glory with an outright 4-0 victory at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam.
The Danes, shaken by Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest in Copenhagen a fortnight ago, drew in the quarter-finals against the Netherlands or the Czech Republic thanks to Kasper Dolberg’s brace and Joakim’s late strikes Maehle and Martin Braithwaite.
Dolberg, starting in place of injured Yussuf Poulsen, scored the opener with an exceptional curling finish from outside the box midway through the first half, then jumped on a Neco Williams mistake to double Denmark’s lead shortly after half-time.
Maehle hit the third in the penultimate minute of regulation time when he picked up a cross from Mathias Jensen, cut inside his man and shot eight yards, before Braithwaite added a fourth which was awarded by VAR after initially being ruled out for offside.
Wales, Euro 2016 semi-finalists and second in Group A after taking four points in three games with Switzerland, Turkey and Italy, started well but fainted after the game. opening and substitute Harry Wilson was sent off for a savage challenge. Maehle in the last few minutes.
The dominant Danes, supported by a partisan crowd with Welsh fans not allowed to travel to the Dutch capital, scored four goals for the second game in a row following their 4-1 loss to Russia in Group B, and became the first team. to reach the last eight in the absence of the recovering Eriksen.
Wales: Ward (7), C Roberts (5), Rodon (5), Mepham (5), Davies (5), Morrell (5), Allen (6), Bale (5), Ramsey (5), James (5) , Moore (5).
Submarines used: Williams (4), Brooks (5), Wilson (4), T Roberts (5)
Denmark: Schmeichel (6), Christensen (8), Kjaer (7), Vestergaard (7), Stryger Larsen (8), Hojbjerg (7), Delaney (8), Maehle (9), Braithwaite (8), Damsgaard (8) , Dolberg (9).
Submarines used: Cornelius (7), Jensen (7), Norgaard (7), Boilesen (6), Andersen (6).
Man of the match: Kasper Dolberg.
How Denmark broke the hearts of the Welsh
Wales may have been outnumbered in the stands but looked more like the home side on the pitch at first as Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Daniel James took the game to Denmark.
Bale had the first chance, cutting inside from the right and firing a low shot a few yards from Kasper Schmeichel’s far post from outside the box, with Ramsey seeing two efforts blocked quickly.
James was next to try his luck as Rob Page’s side continued to put pressure on the Danes, but his diagonal effort to the right side of the box was comfortably recovered by Schmeichel.
Denmark, the first team in European Championship history to reach the round of 16 after losing their first two group matches, struggled to contain the Welsh attack at this point, but the roles quickly changed reversed.
- Wales have recalled Ben Davies, Chris Mepham and Kieffer Moore after being benched in the last group game against Italy to avoid possible suspensions.
- Denmark made two changes after their 4-1 win over Russia, with Kasper Dolberg and Jens Stryger replacing Daniel Wass and Yussuf Poulsen.
Theo Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg began to control the midfield and the excellent Mikkel Damsgaard began to team up dangerously with Dolberg.
It was this combination that gave the opening goal as Damsgaard pulled away from Ramsey and fed Dolberg, who finished brilliantly after receiving too much space from Chris Mepham.
Damsgaard and Dolberg nearly combined for a second goal just five minutes later, the first reaching the Welsh signing and slicing the ball for the second, whose point-blank goal required a hard save from Danny Ward.
Wales were on the rise, with big gaps appearing in their defense every time Denmark came up, and their problems escalated when right-back Connor Roberts came to a halt with an apparent injury to the elder.
Williams stepped in in his place, but the Liverpool defender was left outnumbered at the far post in the first-half stoppage as a cross from Jens Stryger Larsen found his way to the Maehle no scored, whose side-footed shot had to be repelled by Ward.
Wales were fortunate enough to reach the break with just one goal behind, but Denmark doubled their lead just three minutes after the restart when Williams’ misdirected clearance fell directly on Dolberg.
The Welsh players were furious that Danish captain Simon Kjaer was not penalized for a challenge against Kieffer Moore during the preparation, but a VAR check confirmed the goal and Denmark continued to dominate the proceedings from that point on. .
Wales, visibly tired after their efforts in the group stage, failed to shoot a single shot on target in the second half, but Denmark had to wait late to extend their advantage.
Substitute Jensen and Braithwaite both hit the woodwork before that, while Joachim Andersen, another substitute, pulled another narrow effort, but the floodgates opened in the dying minutes.
Maehle, a threat to Wales, clinically scored his goal, while Braithwaite also finished with aplomb and was finally cleared to celebrate after a lengthy VAR check that ruled in Denmark’s favor.
The Danish players celebrated in front of their supporters after the final whistle, while Page’s men looked sorry as their journey to Euro 2020 was over despite some memorable highs in the group stage.
Denmark will face the Netherlands or the Czech Republic in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals in Baku on Saturday July 3.