Denmark are through to their fourth European Championships semi-final after beating the Czech Republic 2-1 in Baku.
They were handed a dream start when Thomas Delaney headed home Jens Stryger Larsen’s corner unchallenged from six yards out in the fifth minute.
After a period of Czech pressure the lead was doubled when Joakim Maehle superbly crafted a cross from the left wing with the outside of his right boot which Kasper Dolberg volleyed home from close range.
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To their credit the Czech Republic came out for the second half with great purpose and Patrik Schick guided home Vladimir Coufal’s cross for his fifth goal of the tournament, which may earn him a share of the golden boot with Cristiano Ronaldo, but was too little to avoid his country’s exit at the last-eight stage.
Denmark, who won the tournament in 1992 and also reached the last four in 1964 and 1984, will face the winner of the Ukraine and England in the semi-final at Wembley.
Talking point: Are the Danes the strongest defence in the tournament?
Despite the consecutive four-goal wins ahead of this game, it is clearly the central defence and goalkeeper which is the strength of Kasper Hjulmand’s side, was crucial in this triumph and will be if they are to emulate their 1992 triumph.
Kasper Schmeichel looks almost as imperious as his father did in the win 29 years ago and in front of him it is clear a forward will have a lot to even test him with Simon Kjaer, Andreas Christensen and Jannik Vestergaard – in this instance a clever strike from the most in-form striker in the competition. It is no surprise they came into the game having conceded the least amount of shots of goal.
In addition, wing-backs Jens Stryger Larsen and Joakim Maehle look as dangerous going forward as any in the tournament. The rest of the side may not compare to the remaining sides in the tournament but this back six means they are well capable of winning it all.
Man of the match: Joakim Maehle (Denmark)
His cross for the goal was almost worth this award alone. There have been many right-footed left backs who performed the role with distinction, but not many wing-backs.
The Czech defence could have been excused for thinking there was little danger when Maehle was played down the left wing on the break but his swerving cross into his team-mate’s path was worthy of his country’s greatest player Michael Laudrup.
Throughout the rest of the game, he and fellow flanker Stryger Larsen were a menace for the Czech defence and key to their side being so potent on the break.
Czech Republic: Vaclik 7; Coufal 7, Celustka 6, Kalas 7, Boril 6; Holes 6, Soucek 7; Masopust 5, Barak 7, Sevcik 6; Schick 7.
Subs: Jankto 7, Krmencik 6, Brabec 6, Vydra 5, Darida 6.
Denmark: Schmeichel 7; Christensen 7, Kjaer 7, Vestergaard 6; Stryger 7, Hojbjerg 7, Delaney 7, Maehle 8*; Braithwaite 5, Dolberg 7, Damsgaard 7.
Subs: Poulsen 7, Norgaard 6, Wass 7, Andersen 6, Jensen 6.
5′ GOAL FOR DENMARK! Delaney nods home a free header from the six-yard box. A perfect corner from Larsen and a well-placed header from Delaney but questions will be asked about the marking – and the corner.
43′ GOAL FOR DENMARK! Dolberg scores a superb second meeting Mahle’s superb cross with the outside of his right foot on the volley leaving Vaclik with no chance.
46′ Krmencik almost with a dream introduction firing an effort from 20 yards which Schmiechel could only parry away.
49′ GOAL FOR CZECH REPUBLIC! A fantastic finish on the volley from Schick guiding home on the volley Soufal’s cross leaving Schmeichel with no chance.
82′ A great chance for Maehle who received a ball through from Jensen and had Braithwaite to square to for an open goal but tried to sneak the all inside Vaclik who saved well with his legs at the near post.
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