Kasper Dolberg made his opportunity count, but Gareth Bale & co. were outplayed as Denmark beat Wales 4-0 in the UEFA Euro 2020 Round of 16 on Saturday.
The match proved to be a cagey affair for much of the first half, with Wales and Denmark managing just one shot on target in the opening quarter of the game. However, Kasper Hjulmand & co. managed to wrest control of the game at the right time before breaking the deadlock in the 27th minute, courtesy of a superb curling effort by Kasper Dolberg.
Denmark continued to be in control thereafter and deservedly doubled their advantage early in the second half, with Dolberg on target once again, albeit in contentious circumstances. Wales did create some moves as the second period progressed but did not have the cutting edge to trouble Kasper Schmeichel.
On the other end of the pitch, Denmark continued to pose a lot of threat, and a couple of late goals completed a comprehensive win, with Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite on target, while for Wales, Harry Wilson got sent off. The Dragons, therefore, are booted out of UEFA Euro 2020 while Denmark will face the winner of the game between Netherlands and Czech Republic in the quarter-finals. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both sets of players.
Danny Ward: 5/10
There was not much that he could have done to deny the peach of a strike from Kasper Dolberg, or the Denmark striker’s second, or the other two Danish goals for that matter. The Wales goalkeeper, though, made some crucial saves to keep his side in the game until late on. Just was not to be for him.
Connor Roberts: 6/10
A frustrating evening for Roberts, who hardly put a step wrong in the first 40 minutes of the game and was one of the more solid customers for Wales when Denmark were dominant in the first half. Completed each of his 15 attempted passes while keeping a check on Joakim Maehle smartly. Alas, he sustained a groin injury that ended his game.
Chris Mepham: 6/10
An early tackle seemed to have set the tone for what was to come, with Mepham producing a solid performance at the heart of Wales’ defence. However, his major shortcoming was the inability to keep the backline organised at times in the face of Denmark’s relentless push for the goals.
Joe Rodon: 5/10
All through the game, it was clear that Rodon was tasked with personally marking Dolberg, and that resulted in some rough moments between the two. Rodon, though, ended up losing his man for the opening goal, with Dolberg scoring a worldie of a strike. Grew in frustration by the minute, and that meant he could not concentrate enough on the primary task at hand.
Ben Davies: 5/10
The experienced head at the back, Davies needed to keep the Welsh defensive line more disciplined. However, the veteran left-back was off his game and gave Joakim Maehle acres of space for Denmark’s third goal. Horrible way to bow out of the tournament.
Joe Morrell: 5/10
A game to forget for Morrell, who became anonymous after a solid start to the game. The 24-year-old just could not manage to get to grips with the pace that Denmark played the game. And along with Joe Allen, he was overrun in the middle of the park. Completed nearly each of his attempted passes but needed to do so much more defensively.
Joe Allen: 5/10
Allen was a bundle of energy, as he so usually is in most games. However, the experienced midfielder could not keep Denmark quiet as much as he would have liked. Did push Wales forward with intent, but his performance off the ball left a lot to be desired, with Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg overpowering him and Morrell.
Gareth Bale: 6/10
One of the players in focus in our preview, Bale seemed to be in his elements in the early exchanges and showed the desire to get a quick goal. However, the Wales captain was left isolated in periods when Denmark were on top and just could not manage to find a way back after the initial onslaught by his side.
Aaron Ramsey: 6/10
An evening brimming with frustration for Ramsey, who was left isolated for large parts of the game, but still remained the best bet for Wales to engineer any openings. Did play a key pass and completed 88 percent of his attempted passes. However, he just could not do enough to inspire a positive result.
Daniel James: 5/10
As has been the case with James throughout his campaign at UEFA Euro 2020, he tried hard to make things happen from both wings. However, he was either rendered to be a peripheral figure or did not have the right kind of end product to make any sort of difference in what proved to be an exasperating game for him and Wales.
Kieffer Moore: 5/10
A frustrating outing for Moore, who earned a yellow card in the first half that would have forced him to miss the quarter-finals, had Wales beaten Denmark. The Welsh striker, though, remained isolated for much of the game, although, in an unfortunate moment, he was not awarded a foul when Simon Kjaer brought him down in the build-up to Dolberg’s second.
Neco Williams: 5/10
On for Roberts, Williams had a chance to make an impression. However, that is exactly what he did not do, as he was sloppy in possession while also giving the ball away when Dolberg doubled his and Denmark’s tally in the game.
Harry Wilson: 5/10
On for Morrell, as Rob Page sought to throw more men forward, Wilson’s introduction ought to have created more chances for Wales. However, he was largely anonymous before being sent off, albeit rather contentiously so.
Tyler Roberts: N/A
On for Moore, Roberts managed just five touches on the ball late on, although he completed each of his attempted passes.
David Brooks: N/A
On for James, Brooks hardly got a touch on the ball before full-time.
Kasper Schmeichel: 6/10
A largely quiet evening for Schmeichel, who was hardly put to the test by Wales on Saturday. The Denmark no. 1 had more work to do with his feet than with his gloves, making just one save all game long.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
Coming off the back of a memorable performance against Russia, Christensen stuck to his guns at the back, rendering Daniel James to be inconsequential in the game. Made three interceptions while winning four duels and losing possession just five times. A professional display by the Dane.
Andreas Christensen vs Wales:
3/5 aerial duels won
Danish Maldini. pic.twitter.com/OrAv02k6Iv
— ExpectedChelsea (@ExpectedChelsea) June 26, 2021
Simon Kjaer: 7/10
Top-notch from Kjaer, who performed his tasks to the T, kept the backline organised throughout his stay on the pitch. Won six duels while making a couple of big blocks. However, he was taken off with a minor hamstring injury, which would be a concern for Kasper Hjulmand.
Jannik Vestergaard: 7/10
A solid performance by Vestergaard, who remained disciplined throughout to keep Wales’ attack quiet for the most part. Won four duels while making several clearances as well. Most importantly, he was not wasteful with the ball at his feet, which meant Denmark never really lost the initiative.
Jens Stryger Larsen: 6/10
Brought into the side in place of Daniel Wass, Stryger Larsen was a bit wasteful on the ball but did defend diligently when called into action. In charge of corner duties, his deliveries were not accurate enough, with Denmark trying a bit too much with their set-pieces. Taken off late on with a knock.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 7/10
Not the most notable of figures on the pitch, but Hojbjerg did his best work silently, enabling the front-men to express themselves better. Completed 91 percent of his attempted passes while also winning a couple of duels and making three clearances. Job well done.
Thomas Delaney: 8/10
A colossal performance by Delaney, who was here, there and everywhere. The 29-year-old was a little slow off the blocks but helped Denmark in wresting control of the contest. This was when he showed an adventurous side to his game, taking up dangerous positions in the final third while also sending in numerous dangerous crosses.
Joakim Maehle: 8/10
Joakim Maehle has been one of the better performers for Denmark at UEFA Euro 2020, and on Saturday, he produced another impressive display. Played his part in the opening goal, linking up with Mikkel Damsgaard before Kasper Dolberg netted the first strike. The cherry on top, though, was the touch, turn and subsequent finish for his goal, which was absolutely brilliant.
Mikkel Damsgaard: 8/10
Mikkel Damsgaard has created more chances (3) and has completed more take-ons (2) than any other player on the pitch against #WAL
And he has the assist for the opening goal. pic.twitter.com/k5G6MlIVnz
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 26, 2021
A bundle of energy, Damsgaard was typically relentless in his performance, popping up in various areas of the pitch to lose his marker regularly. Showed some neat touches, and movement was silky, with one such moment leading to the assist for Dolberg’s opener. Played a game-high 3 key passes despite being taken off at the hour mark. Quite a handful.
Kasper Dolberg: 9/10
With Yussuf Poulsen missing out in the game, Dolberg got the chance to lead the line for Denmark against Wales. And the 23-year-old grabbed his opportunity with both hands, showing a lot of desire to make his mark on the game in the setting he first burst under the spotlight in his career.
Kasper Dolberg’s game by numbers vs. Wales (70 minutes):
100% dribbles completed (2/2)
30 total touches
4 shots (3 on target)
2 fouls suffered
2 tackles won
Statement performance. 👏 pic.twitter.com/m9psH3SPGR
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) June 26, 2021
That is exactly what Dolberg did, as he produced a brilliant strike from just outside the Wales box to hand Denmark the lead. Handed the second on a platter by Neco Williams, Dolberg did not make an error in finding the back of the net from his effort. What a performance.
Martin Braithwaite: 8/10
A tireless display by Braithwaite, who put in the hard yards from start to finish, constantly working to win second balls higher up the pitch while also posing a threat when on the ball. Involved in the second goal scored by Dolberg and got the reward for his efforts with the fourth and final goal, finding the back of the net with a composed finish.
📊 | Martin Braithwaite vs Wales
• 1 Goal
• 48 Touches
• 24/32 Passes
• 3 Shots
• 1 Hit woodwork
• 1 Key pass
• 1 Big Chance Created
• 5 duels won
• 2 Dribbled Completed
• 2 Aerials Won
• 2 Recoveries
Solid Performance! 💪👏 pic.twitter.com/MvIqkSxBvE
— Barca Stats (@BarcaStats__) June 26, 2021
Christian Norgaard: 6/10
On for Damsgaard, Norgaard kept things simple but did not really create anything of note, but that was enough as Denmark safely got through to the quarter-finals.
Mathias Jensen: 7/10
On for Delaney, Jensen continued from where the senior midfielder left off, keeping Denmark in control of the proceedings. Completed all but one pass, which meant Denmark retained possession in crucial junctures of the game late on to keep Wales at bay. Set up the goal for Maehle late on.
Andreas Cornelius: 7/10
A solid cameo by Cornelius, who used his strength brilliantly to hold the ball for longer periods and take Denmark closer to the finish line. Also provided the assist for Braithwaite’s late goal.
Nicolai Boilesen: N/A
On for a stricken Stryger Larsen, Boilesen helped see the game out in the final quarter of the game or so.
Joachim Andersen: N/A
With Simon Kjaer seemingly sustaining a minor hamstring injury, Andersen got the chance to finish the game off, and he did exactly that, remaining solid at the back for the most part. Somehow failed to convert a late chance after Martin Braithwaite’s acrobatic touch.