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21 Jun, 2021 21:35

Four-punch KO: Dazzling Denmark dump Russia out of Euro 2020 as Cherchesov’s men finish bottom of group after horror show (VIDEO)

Four-punch KO: Dazzling Denmark dump Russia out of Euro 2020 as Cherchesov’s men finish bottom of group after horror show (VIDEO)

Russia crashed out of EURO 2020 after being mauled 4-1 by Denmark in Copenhagen, with three sensational goals and Yussuf Poulsen's tap-in after a comical back-pass from Daler Kuzyayev condemning them to the foot of Group B.

As hard as it might seem for both sets of fans to believe in hindsight, the start of the crucial contest proved cagey, with both sides knowing that qualification could be at stake in the likelihood that Finland failed to beat swaggering Belgium.

Denmark had the better of play without really threatening Russia before Mikkel Damsgaard intervened with a violently brilliant strike in the 38th minute, taking aim from outside the penalty area to blast a dipping effort over international rookie Matvei Safonov.

Worse was to come after the break when Roman Zobnin received a pass from Safonov in a seemingly harmless position on the left flank inside his own half, looked up and then decided to turn back and play a disastrous ball back to his helpless goalkeeper.

Unfortunate Zobnin had not spotted Poulsen lurking inside the penalty area, locating him precisely with the pass. The Leipzig dangerman gratefully took the opportunity to slot in.

Any hope provided by Artem Dzyuba's emphatic penalty was almost immediately extinguished. The unlikely figure of Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen surged on to a loose ball outside the penalty area after Russia failed to conclusively clear their lines following a succession of crosses, blasting an unstoppable, thunderous effort that Safonov had no chance with. It was arguably the best of several superb goals.

By now, Denmark knew Belgium were doing their part in helping them qualify by taking a comfortable lead against the Finns. Pinching possession inside their own half, the rampant victors fashioned a rampaging counter-attack that ended in Joakim Mæhle cutting inside from the left and placing a low shot past Safonov, wrong-footing the youngster to compound a cruel match between the Russia sticks.

Denmark were ecstatic at the end, celebrating wildly on the pitch at the center of a cacophonous Copenhagen crowd. A game that had started with Russia hopeful of qualifying ended with their opponents going through courtesy of a scintillating first victory at the finals.

"It could all have been different had we scored in the first half," said Russia striker Aleksandr Sobolev, reflecting on a period in which his side held their own.

"But we didn't and they used their chances fully – that's the difference. All of us are to blame: it was the team that lost, not anyone in particular."

Defender Igor Diveev added: "Our plan worked until the first goal. Then it was hard for us to get back into the game.

"When we pushed more men forward, they just punished us for leaving too much space and for our own mistakes. I just want to apologize to our fans for this."

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