From the time Denmark’s stalwart Christian Eriksen had to, unfortunately, cut his Euro excursion short, owing to the ill-fated cardiac arrest he suffered on the field in game one, his team mates as a tribute to this great player have shown in abundance the one word which has essentially dictated their style of play.
This word is purpose.
Purpose to overcome adversity in their remaining fixtures to qualify for the round of 16 and now march to the last 8. And when purpose meets determination, the performances one gets are what dreams are made of.
Ask Christian Eriksen, and his smile would shine bright as he recuperates with the intent of taking the field once again. Well, I certainly hope so!
In truth, Denmark as a salute to this Inter Milan midfielder have not only beaten but annihilated two teams in Russia and Wales with a thumping 4-1 win over the former and a 4-0 rout of the latter. With each of these wins, they have marched to the next round of the competition with much purpose.
What makes me even happier despite having a soft corner for the Welsh is the venue where the Red Dragons were conquered by the Danes last evening.
Yes, the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, the place where Christian Eriksen became a name in European football playing for Ajax. Surely, a befitting honour to this Danish talisman with the perfect concoction of happiness and emotion!
So, as the Danes became the first team to score four goals in two consecutive matches in the Euros and qualify for the last 8, let’s dissect this rout of a contest albeit more so if you’re a Wales supporter:
Dolberg shines bright in the first 45
Wales started the contest with much intent looking to continue their dream run into the next round when in just the 10th minute, captain Gareth Bale ran into space to beat the Danish defence and curled a shot on target which went just inches wide.
Moments later the Real Madrid star would fire another shot this time going wide on the other side of the post.
Well, the roar of The Red Dragons would unfortunately fizzle out after the first 15, as the Danes slowly but surely settled in the game, building attacks of their own.
The attacking mindset would soon pay dividends as Kasper Dolberg fired Denmark ahead in the 27th minute with a brilliant shot beating keeper Ward in the bottom-right corner of the Welsh net.
Wales were rocked as Denmark started bringing the word that has defined their style of play in this tournament to the fore. Purpose!
Minutes later Dolberg almost had his second as the ball bounced off keeper Ward.
Denmark’s attacking intent continued for much of this half when in injury time they almost got another goal. This after the man of the moment, Dolberg flicked a pass to Mahele who’s right foot strike was palmed wide by Ward.
Wales were surely lucky to not be two down as the referee called half-time.
Danish Dynamite inflict further misery in the second 45
To say life is beautiful for Dolberg would be an understatement as three minutes into the second half, the Danish scored a brace courtesy a blunder by Welsh defender, Neco Williams. The young Welshman made a schoolboy error as he planted his clearance straight to Dolberg who made no mistake slotting in his second.
Wales on their own accord with a boyish blunder were now 2-0 down.
The Danish Dynamite bombed more attacks on a deflated Welsh defence as the third came minutes before the full 90 when Mahele blasted a left-footed strike from close range. It was all over for the Red Dragons with this one as the Danes had had all-but cemented their place in the quarter-finals.
The misery unfortunately wouldn’t end for the Welsh just then as Denmark would have their fourth in injury time when Martin Braithwaite buried one on target. The goal was allowed after a VAR check as the referee had raised his flag for a possible off-side on the Dane.
Truth be told, Wales were routed with much purpose by Denmark as referee blew the whistle on the final 90 albeit for me The Red Dragons had more than exceeded expectations.
Yes, make no mistake as few expected Wales to proceed to the round of 16 after being in a tough group with the likes of Italy and Switzerland both ranked higher than this small but dynamic nation.
Kudos Red Dragons, you did well in the tournament!
A date with either the Dutch or Czech awaits the Danes
With a resounding 4-0 win, The Danes enter the last eight amid confidence galore as their purpose will now meet either the might of The Dutch or the determination of The Czechs.
In either case it will be a match to look out for albeit as a neutral I would love to see a Denmark-Netherlands showdown in the quarters with possibly purpose getting the better of might.
The smile of Christian surely would become laughter if the Danes progress to the semi-finals and as they say laughter is the best medicine.
Well, even the almighty would agree Eriksen needs that in loads!