Denmark cruised into the quarterfinals after a brace from Kasper Dolberg and late goals from Joakim Maehle as well as Martin Braithwaite edged uninspired Wales in the round of last 16 in Amsterdam’s Johan Cruyff Arena on Saturday.
After a lively opening period from both sides, Wales took over and came to a promising chance with ten minutes played as Gareth Bale missed the target from 18 meters just wide.
Denmark though cut a better figure in front of the target as they clinically broke the deadlock with their first opportunity after Dolberg had enough time and space at the edge of the area to give the ball a couple of touches before drilling it past Wales goalkeeper Danny Ward in the 27th minute.
The Danes kept the “Dragons” busy but for all Dolberg was only able to test Ward from sharp angle in the closing stages of the first half.
After the restart, Denmark continued on the front foot and shocked Wales with the 2-0 lead after Neco Williams cleared a dangerous ball across the goal into the path of Dolberg, who made no mistake to tap home from very close in the 48th minute.
Wales couldn’t reply and tried their luck with the long-range efforts but the attempts from Daniel James and Joe Allen were harmless. Meanwhile, Denmark remained a menace with every attack, yet Mathias Jensen lacked in accuracy and missed the far corner just wide with 66 minutes gone.
Wales couldn’t prevent Denmark from attacking as Jensen’s ball into the area allowed Maehle to overcome Ward from seven meters and tripling the lead with two minutes until the final whistle.
However, things went from bad to worse for the “Dragons” as Harry Wilson saw a straight red card for a rude foul play before Denmark’s Braithwaite made it four after tapping home Andreas Cornelius assist at the far post.
With the win, Denmark face either the Netherlands or Czech Republic in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
“I actually don’t know how I feel. This is total madness. It’s surreal. It was here it all started for me, and to play here again in this setting was insane,” former Ajax Amsterdam player Kasper Dolberg said.
“It had to end this way with him scoring on his old home ground. I had a good feeling about him, and he was fantastic,” Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand said.
XINHUA | BERLIN