Dolberg and Danes begin to believe in Euro 2020 destiny
Could a competition that began so terribly end in not likely splendor for Denmark?
That romantic concept is starting to appear like an authentic possibility after Kasper Hjulmand’s group tore apart Wales 4-0 on Saturday to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.
Football might not have actually appeared lesser when Christian Eriksen suffered heart attack throughout their opening video game versus Finland in Copenhagen, which they went on to lose 1-0.
However the Danes have actually been brought by a wave of feeling from that minute and, after scraping out of the group phase, in Amsterdam –- where Eriksen made his name with Ajax -– they tape-recorded among the most significant ever success in the European Champion knockout rounds.
Nearly everybody in the 14,645 crowd enabled inside the Johan Cruyff Arena was Danish, while back house fans commemorated on the streets in Copenhagen.
“Now we can go all the way” was the heading in tabloid Ekstra Bladet, anticipating a quarter-final in Baku next weekend.
“One thing at a time,” stated Hjulmand. “There is no need to think so far ahead but we believe in each other.”
Parallels can be drawn with 1992, when the Danes took advantage of a restriction on war-torn Yugoslavia to get approved for the Euro in Sweden and went on to win the prize.
Saturday’s triumph versus Wales began the anniversary of that victory and this time, without Eriksen, it is clear Denmark still have an impressive group driven by the desire to win for their stricken buddy.
“We have actually been getting ready for this for a long time. Our companied believe in each other, we were positive, then Christian collapsed which is where whatever altered, for me a minimum of,” Hjulmand said.
“I felt that we were put unexpectedly in an absolutely various scenario. I am extremely grateful for all the assistance everybody has actually revealed. We required the love and assistance which is what offered us wings.”
The quality is there: every member of their starting line-up against Wales plays in one of Europe’s big five leagues.
Against Wales the sense fate was on their side was epitomised by the match-winning role played by Kasper Dolberg.
The striker did not start a group game but was brought into the side with Yussuf Poulsen injured and scored the first two goals on the ground where -– like Eriksen -– he made his name with Ajax.
Joakim Maehle, the Atalanta full-back, and Barcelona’s Martin Braithwaite completed the rout.
– Kasper catches a break –
Dolberg, whose parents were handball players, emerged in Amsterdam when he scored 16 league goals for Ajax as a teenager in 2016/17, also featuring on their run to that season’s Europa League final.
A move to French club Nice for a reported 20 million euros ($23.9m) followed in 2019, but weeks later his watch –- worth many thousands of euros -– was stolen from the changing room by a team-mate.
Dolberg also came into the delayed Euro after a season in which he just couldn’t catch a break.
Last September, while on international duty, the 23-year-old’s house was burgled and his car, a Porsche, was stolen.
A succession of injury problems followed. He contracted Covid-19 twice. Then, in February, he had to undergo surgery for appendicitis.
He returned to finish the season but did not come into the Euro in great form. On Saturday he truly rediscovered his scoring touch.
“I think we have a star striker in Kasper. I watched him when he was a kid and he had that season when he scored 16 goals for Ajax,” stated Hjulmand.
“He did have some troublesome stages with injuries and capturing Covid however he got better,” added the coach, who himself would not have been in charge had the Euro not been postponed for a year.
“The boys are warriors and I admire them. It is a beautiful game but I know everyone is fighting and being in the quarter-finals now is amazing.”
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.