Dolberg’s double downs Wales for Denmark to reach Euro 2020 quarter-finals

Denmark players celebrate Kasper Dolberg who inspired a convincing 4-0 win over Wales on Saturday and took them into the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.

A superb double from Kasper Dolberg inspired a convincing 4-0 win for Denmark over Wales on Saturday and took them into the quarter-finals of Euro 2020.

Dolberg was selected in place of the injured Yussuf Poulsen and stepped up brilliantly with his tournament’s first goals in Amsterdam, where he used to play club football with Ajax.

The 27th minute opener was a fine finish curled into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty box.

The second, just three minutes after the restart, was a clinical poacher’s effort after a defensive error.

Joakim Maehle then added a third with two minutes remaining and Martin Braithwaite a late fourth to cap a memorable win, with Harry Wilson’s dismissal concluding a miserable day for Wales.

Victory takes Denmark into the continental last eight for just the second time since their surprise title win in 1992.

It also sets up a Baku date with the Netherlands or the Czech Republic next Saturday.

The win also ensures their emotional roller-coaster of a tournament which began with the shock collapse of Christian Eriksen continues.

Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand said his team had been optimistic before the tournament but “when Christian collapsed that’s when everything changed.

“For me at least, we were put in a totally different situation.

“I just want to say it’s hard to believe this is reality. I’m really grateful first to all the Danes who came all the way down here, I’m grateful for all the support we keep receiving.

“I admire the boys, I admire that we can fight back no matter who plays. We knew that everything wasn’t perfect during the game but we improved and that’s something we’ve done several times.”

Wales offered little and ended their second Euro 2020 campaign in considerably more low-key fashion than their fairy-tale run to the semi-finals five years ago.

Coronavirus travel restrictions meant Wales had few backers in the stadium but they almost silenced the Danish fans when Gareth Bale cut in from the right to fire just wide.

But Denmark then dominated and took the lead with a wonderful goal midway through the half.

Mikkel Damsgaard created space and passed to the onrushing Dolberg, who looked up to place an accurate shot around a defender and beyond the grasp of goalkeeper Danny Ward.

“It’s not how we wanted the game to go. From our point of view we started very well and then the game changed,” Bale said.

“We tried to play in the second half but made a mistake to concede which killed the momentum on our side.”

Wales, who were desperate to make the break without conceding again, were the architects of their own downfall early in the second period.

Neco Williams, who replaced the injured Connor Roberts in the first half, met Braithwaite’s cross but sent his clearance straight to Dolberg.

He stayed composed and left Ward helpless from close range.

“Obviously I’m happy,” said Dolberg, who added it felt “special” walking around Amsterdam pre-game. “It’s something I’ve been waiting for, especially sitting on the bench.”

Hjulmand said of Dolberg: “I think it was meant to be to have the huge climax here. It was an amazing performance.”

Bale headed over and Joe Allen missed the target as Wales interim coach Rob Page gambled in an attempt to change the balance of play.

Maehle received the ball at the back post to cut in to deliver the third goal and he was the victim of a silly lunge from Wilson when Wales were reduced to 10 men.

Braithwaite then grabbed the goal he deserved in injury-time after a lengthy video check and Denmark could begin to party.

Dolberg, who played with Ajax 2016 to 2019 before going to Nice, also had already departed with 20 minutes remaining with Denmark’s progress never in doubt.(dpa/NAN)