watoday– Maehle’s 82nd-minute goal put some extra gloss on a 4-1 win over Russia on Monday that gave Denmark second place in Group B and an automatic spot in the round of 16.
After Eriksen’s collapse in the first game and two subsequent losses at home, Denmark were finally able to celebrate in front of their raucous and jubilant supporters at Parken Stadium.
“It’s a relief and a redemption,” Maehle said.
Eriksen — who wears No. 10 for the national team — suffered cardiac arrest and had to be resuscitated with a defibrillator. He was released from hospital on Friday.
Denmark, Russia and Finland all finished with three points but the Danes had the better goal difference. Belgium won the group with nine points after beating Finland 2-0.
Elsewhere, Austria advanced to the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time after a 1-0 win over Ukraine, while the Netherlands wrapped up their clean sweep of Group C by defeating North Macedonia 3-0.
Now a meeting with Wales awaits for Denmark in Amsterdam on Saturday. And a tournament that so nearly began with a tragedy could still turn into a triumph.
Given all the team’s earlier misfortune, perhaps it was fitting that they were helped by a massive gift this time. After Mikkel Damsgaard put Denmark ahead in the 38th minute with a looping shot from outside the area, Yussuf Poulsen made it 2-0 in the 59th by pouncing on a massive defensive error. Roman Zobnin tried to play a back pass to his goalkeeper but instead gave the ball straight to the Denmark forward, who put it into an empty net.
“Every now and then you get lucky and the ball just lands right where you’re standing,” Poulsen said. “I think it’s the first time in my life I didn’t track back, and then I’m handed a gift.”
Russia only needed a draw to advance and Artem Dzyuba got the visitors back in the match when he made it 2-1 from the penalty spot in the 70th.
However, Christensen netted from outside the area in the 79th and Maehle finished off a quick counter to put the game beyond doubt.
After the final whistle, the whole Danish team formed a circle at the centre of the field before doing a lap of honor in front of their serenading supporters.
Dutch continue perfect record
Georginio Wijnaldum scored twice and Memphis Depay added to his goal haul as the Netherlands kept their 100 per cent record at Euro 2020 alive – but not before surviving some early scares at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
The Dutch had already secured top place in Group C but emphasised their dominance with a full haul of points as North Macedonia exited the tournament with none.
Depay opened the scoring in the first half and Wijnaldum added two in the space of seven minutes to go ahead of Marco van Basten on the list of his country’s scorers.
The captain now has 25 goals for the Netherlands, who head to Budapest for their last-16 match on Sunday against one of the best third-placed finishers from Groups D, E or F.
North Macedonia offered plucky intent at creating an upset and had the ball in the Dutch net early, only for Ivan Trickovski to be ruled off side. Aleksandar Trajkovski then smashed in a powerful shot that had Dutch goalkeeper Marten Stekelenburg beaten but thundered back out off the post.
Instead the home side took the lead in the 24th minute, albeit amid some controversy, as a tackle from Daley Blind on Goran Pandev set up a counterattack, swiftly executed with Donyell Malen and Depay combining before the latter tucked away the ball.
A VAR check, however, found Blind’s tackle was legal, much to the disgust of the Macedonians.
Straight after half-time, Matthijs de Ligt had a powerful header cleared off the line by Trickovski as the Dutch served notice of a more determined approach. Wijnaldum then doubled the score six minutes into the half as Depay set him up to finish from close range.
More of their confident passing allowed Wijnaldum another goal in the 58th minute, with Depay once more the provider, and the skipper might have completed a hat-trick four minutes thereafter, but he shot wide.
Substitute Wout Weghorst crashed the ball against the bar with his first touch after coming on but North Macedonia managed to pull down the shutters for the last 20 minutes.
Positive virus case disrupts Scotland, England
Meantime, a coronavirus infection created disruption for two teams on Monday after a positive test for Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour also led to two England players having to self-isolate.
Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were deemed by English health authorities to have had “interaction” with Gilmour during England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland at Wembley Stadium on Friday. The three players are teammates at Chelsea.
The announcement came ahead of the final Group D games, with England hosting the Czech Republic, and Scotland playing Croatia with qualification for the round of 16 still up for grabs.
All England players came back with negative PCR tests on Sunday and lateral flow tests on Monday. While Mount started for England against Scotland, Chilwell was an unused substitute.
No timeframe was stated for the period of isolation, which was described as a “precaution” as England team officials remain in talks with local health authorities.
Gilmour has already been ruled out of Scotland’s game on Tuesday after entering isolation for 10 days.
“He’s upset as you would expect,” Scotland coach Steve Clarke said. “He’s asymptomatic. Hopefully he’ll get back to playing as quickly as possible. It’s a blow for us. But it’s a chance for someone else to come into the team.”