The group stage is over, now it’s time for serious things. To start the round of 16, Wales faced Denmark this Saturday at the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, in a rather unexpected duel. Despite two initial defeats, the teammates of exemplary captain Simon Kjaer were able to validate their ticket, in extremis, thanks to an impressive victory against Russia (4-1) on the last day of group B. Transcendés following Eriksen’s heart failure, the Danes, carried by an offensive game at all times, had the opportunity to climb, as in 2004, in the quarter-finals of the Euro. Opposite, the Dragons were able to rely on remarkable collective strength to finish 2nd in Group A, just behind Squadra Azzura, and could hope to pursue their daydream, five years after their exceptional career (semi-final in 2016). For this decisive meeting and in a palpable tension, the Welsh coach Robert Page decided to align a tactical scheme in 4-2-3-1, carried by his trio James-Ramsey-Bale, in support of Kieffer Moore. On the Danish side, Kasper Hjulmand remained faithful to his attractive 3-4-3, led in particular by the nugget Mikkel Damsgaard (20 years old). Small surprise all the same with the appearance of the Nice Kasper Dolberg (23 years) in the starting XI, replacing the prolific Yussuf Poulsen (2 goals).
From the start of the meeting, the Scandinavians, caught up in the stake in this round of 16, were unable to impose their football so attractive. Taking advantage of their opponent’s technical waste, the Welsh were able to quickly show themselves to be the most dangerous. On a first breakthrough, Bale saw his clear shot flee the frame of Schmeichel (10th). Sparkling in this start of the match, the Spurs winger was at the initiative of all the offensives of the Dragons (11th, 12th, 14th). Asphyxiated by Burning Dragons (7 shots in the 18th), the Vikings gradually came out of this intense pressing. And against the course of the game, Kasper Dolberg delivered the Danish people from a clinical strike in the small left net of Ward (1-0, 27 ‘). Denmark’s first goal in a knockout stage since Euro 1992.
Kasper Dolberg, unexpected hero
Released by this opener, Braithwaite’s teammates then found this romantic football and the offensives were quick to multiply on the Welsh goal. After an extraordinary work of the Damsgaard wisp, Dolberg saw his deviation, at the near post, well pushed back by a vigilant Ward (32nd). Carried by the unconditional support of the Danish people, present in the bays of Amsterdam, the men of Kasper Hjulmand now had the hold on this meeting. Dominated, the Dragons saw, for their part, the bad news accumulate with the injury to the adductors of his right side Roberts (38th), replaced by Williams. A first act which ended with a last attempt by Maelhe, well diverted by the firm hand of Ward (45 + 1e). In the second act, Wales sank. On a recovery error worthy of a beginner signed Williams, the opportunist Dolberg took the opportunity to offer himself a double after an excellent job from Brathwaite (2-0, 48th).
The Welsh Dragons, stunned, reacted only timidly to the image of this failed head of Moore (53rd). Too little to hope to achieve the impossible. If Jensen found the post (64th), the Danes crucified their opponents of the day late in the game. First through Mæhle, a heavy shot at close range after playing Davies (3-0, 89th). Then Braithwaite was rewarded for his efforts. After the direct red card inflicted on Wilson (90th + 1), the Barça striker, served by Cornelius, played with Allen before coldly adjusting a Ward abandoned by his defense (4-0, 90th + 6), an achievement validated by the VAR. Faced with a ruthless Denmark offensively, Wales therefore sees their adventure come to an end. This sparkling victory (4-0) allows Kasper Dolberg’s teammates to continue their incredible journey. It remains to be seen who from the Netherlands or the Czech Republic, round of 16 scheduled for Sunday at 6 p.m., will come up against the offensive power of the Vikings in the quarter-finals.