Football world erupts over 'insane' scenes at Euro 2020

·5-min read
Pictured here, fans celebrate Denmark's incredible final group game win against Russia.
Emotions were running high in Denmark's incredible final group game against Russia in Copenhagen. Pic: Getty

Euro 2020 sentimental favourites Denmark booked their place in the knockout stages of the tournament after an extraordinary final group game against Russia in Copenhagen.

At the same ground where Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen collapsed in the opening game against Finland, the hosts emphatically sealed their progression with a resounding 4-1 win over Russia.

'WHAT A DISGRACE': Uproar over 'disgusting' moment at Euro 2020

'NEVER SEEN THAT': Disbelief at 'ridiculous' anomaly at Euro 2020

The Danes knew they had to beat Russia by two goals and hope leaders Belgium saw off Finland in Saint Petersburg to snatch second place in Group B despite opening with two defeats.

The first of those losses, to Finland, was overshadowed by Eriksen's on-pitch collapse, caused by a cardiac arrest.

But it was a joyous night in front of a 25,000-strong crowd in the Danish capital as goals from Mikkel Damsgaard, Yussuf Poulsen, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle saw the hosts through in style, as Belgium scored two late goals to beat the Finns 2-0.

The result - which sees Denmark set up a last-16 encounter with Wales - helped send five other teams through in the process.

Emotions were high at a raucous Parken Stadium, with Eriksen - who has been discharged from hospital after being successfully fitted with a heart-starter - at the back of the minds of all in attendance.

The Danes channeled their emotions brilliantly against the hapless Russians, playing easily their best football of the tournament so far.

Seen here, Denmark fans celebrate their side's second goal scored by Yussuf Poulsen against Russia.
Fans went wild during incredible scenes in Denmark's win over Russia. Pic: Getty

“It’s insane that we’re through. That team, these players... It’s fantastic to be part of this, Totally amazing to hear people get crazy,” Damsgaard told Danish broadcaster DR.

The 20-year-old wasn't even selected in Denmark's original squad but was drafted in as a creative replacement for Eriksen.

“I had never dreamt to be part of something that big, so it’s a fantastic feeling,” he added.

While Damsgaard's superb opening goal saw home fans erupt into celebration, the thunderbolt from Christensen left supporters delirious.

The amazing scenes lit up social media as the football world hailed the sentimental favourites.

"The most important (thing) is that we are now united as Denmark," Maehle told Danish broadcaster DR after the win.

"We need to enjoy this moment. I'm super proud of the boys."

The results in Group B also saw Switzerland, who finished third in Group A, the Czech Republic, England, Sweden and France - all yet to play their final group games - move into the knockout phase.

The Czechs and England go head-to-head at Wembley on Tuesday, with first place in Group D up for grabs, while Sweden take on Poland and world champions France face holders Portugal, still in danger of a shock exit, on Wednesday.

The 1992 European champions Denmark still needed Belgium to beat Finland and for a long time it looked like that might not happen.

But Finnish goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky put through his own net in unfortunate circumstances with 16 minutes to play, and Romelu Lukaku scored his third goal of the tournament in the 81st minute.

Belgium eased through as group winners and will play a third-placed team in Seville on Sunday.

Austria clinch historic win

Austria edged to a 1-0 win over Ukraine earlier on Monday to beat their opponents to a spot in the last 16.

Christoph Baumgartner's 21st-minute goal proved enough for Austria to secure second place in Group C behind the Netherlands, who saw off North Macedonia 3-0 in a dead rubber in Amsterdam.

Austria will face Group A winners Italy at Wembley on Saturday for a quarter-final berth.

Austria players are seen here celebrating after beating Ukraine.
Austria booked their spot in the knockout stages after beating Ukraine. Pic: Getty

Andriy Shevchenko's Ukraine, who suffered group-stage exits in 2012 and 2016, now face an anxious wait to see if their three points are enough to get them through as one of the four best third-placed teams.

Austria - who had never won a European Championship match until they beat North Macedonia in their opener - scored the all-important goal when Baumgartner beat 18-year-old defender Illia Zabarnyi to David Alaba's corner and poked beyond Georgiy Bushchan.

The other game in the group saw Dutch captain Georginio Wijnaldum net twice as the Netherlands made it three wins out of three.

Barcelona-bound Memphis Depay opened the scoring for Frank de Boer's men in Amsterdam, who were pushed by their visitors, with the Macedonians seeing two goals disallowed and hitting the post.

The Netherlands will next take on a third-placed team in Budapest on Sunday.

with AFP

Watch 'Mind Games', the new series from Yahoo Sport Australia exploring the often brutal mental toil elite athletes go through in pursuit of greatness:

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.