Wales met Denmark in the first of the knockout games at Euro 2020 and safe to say that it did not disappoint. Both teams started strongly but it was the Danes who took the lead midway through the first half.
Wales never really looked like getting back into the game and further goals from Dolberg, Maehle and Braithwaite saw them safely navigate their way onto the quarter-finals of the tournament. FootTheBall brings you the players who stood out across the course of the match, for good and bad.
This was a tight call between the Barcelona striker and Joakim Maehle but the former edges out just. Braithwaite was an absolute beast on the right-wing against Wales. He kept charging at Ben Davies, arguably Wales’ best defender and beat him on more than one occasion throughout the match.
His intrinsic nature of always looking up whenever he had possession meant that the Spurs fullback could not attack much himself. He created the team’s second goal by brilliantly keeping the ball in play before his run into the box caused havoc for Welsh substitute Neco Williams.
📊| Martin Braithwaite vs Wales. 🇩🇰
• 90 Minutes Played.
• 1 Goal.
• 24/32 Passes.
• 3 Shots.
• 1 Hit Woodwork.
• 1 Chance Created.
• 1 Key Pass.
• 5/10 Duels Won.
• 2/4 Dribbles Completed.
• 2/2 Aerials Won.
• 2 Ball Recoveries.
• 1 Clearance.
Great Display! 👏 pic.twitter.com/ExaDYYXJLl
— Barça Buzz (@Barca_Buzz) June 26, 2021
Braithwaite deserved a goal in this match but it looked like his chance had gone when he hit the post with five minutes remaining. However, he was not to be denied in the final moments of the match as Cornelius’ cushioned pass saw him strike an unerring finish.
Braithwaite has been often chided for failing to step up for the Blaugrana but his importance to the Danish team is in no doubt. With a big summer outlay on strikers by Barcelona, this was the perfect match from Braithwaite to reiterate his importance to the side.
Starting for the first time in a crucial knockout game, there were certainly no nerves on display from Dolberg. The 23-year-old looked sharp all throughout the game, scoring from his first shot of the match. He could have had another but his deft flick was well saved. Furthermore, his hold up play caused much consternation amongst the Welsh defenders while his linkup with Damsgaard was telepathic.
🔎 | FOCUS
Kasper Dolberg vs Wales:
⏱️ 70' played
👌 30 touches
⚽️ 2 goals
🥅 4 shots/3 on target
👟 9/13 accurate passes
💨 2/2 successful dribbles
⚔️ 8/12 duels won
❌ 2 tackles
📈 8.5 SofaScore rating
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) June 26, 2021
It got even better immediately as the second half started, with another neat finish taking the game to the comfort zone for the Danish. He was substituted in the 69th minute after a sublime display that is sure to see him get more minutes in their quarter-final clash. For his solid display, Dolberg was deservedly named man-of-the-match in this pulsating clash.
The Tottenham centre-back cut a much frustrated figure for much of the first half. An ever-present in the Welsh side, Rodon had a pretty terrible game defending Dolberg. The Danish striker was able to get the better of him on multiple occasions, culminating with Rodon even picking up a yellow card.
He was growing increasingly agitated at an increased rate at which Dolberg seemed to rile him up and needed to keep a cool head. Rodon was only a bystander for the game’s second goal as Dolberg scored his second of the evening.
— Prof Richard Johnston (@DrRichJohnston) June 26, 2021
Rodon did seem to lose his sharpness from the previous matches against Dolberg and there was worse to come. He lost three duels against the Danish attackers and saw his side concede two more goals.
Though the third was the entire team’s fault for failing to pick up the run by Maehle, the fourth saw him get beat by Braithwaite as the Barcelona man completed the drubbing on the night. Rodon’s early caution also did not help which meant that he had to play in a much more careful manner of the match which Wales comprehensively lost.
James had been highly praised for his work rate and willingness to run at defenders whenever he has got the opportunity. However, he along with the Welsh frontline went missing in this crunch clash. James had two shots throughout his whole 80 minutes while only making 12 passes. Furthermore, as the match progressed, he was having to drop back increasingly in order to keep Denmark’s attacks at bay.
He was stifled really well by the Danish defence and had few chances to make an impact. After some strong performances in the group stage, this was a real letdown for a player trying to convince his club of his value. James was not helped by the fact that his attacking cohorts were kept firmly under wraps. However, this will still feel like a big chance missed before the incoming transfer window.
Denmark’s huge win came on the back of a disciplined display from players all across the pitch. Wales were never really up to the task and are deservedly heading home. The Danes’ attacking talents are likely to cause further problems for whomever they come up against next while the Welsh players did not really play to occasion with some notably poor performances from some of them.