icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Making their mark: Denmark oust Czech Republic in Baku to book Euro 2020 semi-final meeting at Wembley

Making their mark: Denmark oust Czech Republic in Baku to book Euro 2020 semi-final meeting at Wembley
On a sweltering evening in Baku, Denmark eliminated the Czech Republic by beating them 2-1 in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals to set up a semi-final date with either England at Wembley on Wednesday.

When the Czechs switched off on an early corner, Borussia Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney capitalized by dropping into space and converting a free header on five minutes to give his country the lead.

A flurry of chances followed for the Danes, which neither Mikkel Damsgaard nor Delaney could convert. But save for a bad pass from Kasper Schmeichel, that was turned into a through ball from Tomas Holes for a Lukas Masopust shot that the Leicester City 'keeper blocked, they kept their foes quiet in the first half. 

Approaching the interval, Atalanta's Chelsea target Joakim Maehle solved the riddle of fielding a right-footed left back by hitting a superb cross with the outside of his foot for Kasper Dolberg to volley home and make it 2-0.

A previously lackluster Czech outfit came racing out of the tracks for the second half with tournament co-top scorer Patrik Schick building on the momentum of two good attempts from his teammates and giving Schmeichel no chance with a side-footed swing tucked into his post when Vladimir Coufal whipped the ball in from the right.

Following this, though, the Czechs failed to maintain the same frenetic energy, and fell into the same pattern of being unable to threaten their foes.

Denmark holding on, they are now set for a Wembley meeting against England on Wednesday.

An engaging first half was as dominated by Denmark as its scoreline suggested. 

The highlight without doubt was Maehle's knock, which many dubbed him the Player of the Tournament for and his delivery one of those rare assists better than the goal itself.

With Delaney's nod, this was the 24th header that had been scored in the tournament in this fashion, which broke an all-time record. 

Dolberg reaching three goals saw him equal compatriot legends such as Jon Dahl Tomasson and Brian Laudrup with the most goals in the tournament for a Dane.

And as for Denmark themselves, their 11 thus far is a personal best at major competitions, and only fellow semifinalists Spain (12) have netted more overall in this 2021 edition of the Euros.

From the get go of the second half, the Czechs played with an air of a team who had been given a stern talking to by their coach Jaroslav Silhavy, whose substitutions appeared to have been a master stroke.

One of them, Michael Krmencik, made an instant impact by giving Schmeichel something to think about with a thunderous shot that was straight at him but testing almost immediately after the resumption of play.

Then on their next move, Antonin Barak hit a bouncing volley the Danes' shotstopper had to parry out, before Patrik Schick built on the momentum by pulling one back.

Swerving in the box to meet Coufal's lovely dink from the right flank, he equaled Cristiano Ronaldo's Golden Boot candidate tally of five with the strike and has arguably been the best player in this continent-wide spectacle.

Yet it proved to be one of the last times that the Czechs threatened their opponent's goal.

If anyone looked likely to score, it was the Danes, who came close with a break through on goal from Yurary Poulsen while Maehle almost capped a perfect night before being halted in the same manner Schmeichel had Masopust in the first half.

Holding on through six minutes of stoppage time, where Barak volleyed well wide of the post in the dying seconds, Denmark have now achieved their best progress at a major tournament since winning this one in 1992.

Kasper Hjulmand's men have left a nation daring to dream of a meeting with either Spain or Italy in the final after seeing off England in the semis, and have already honored Christian Eriksen with equal bravery the Inter Milan star demonstrated amid his cardiac arrest.

Podcasts