Patrik Schick and Thomas Delaney were among those who impressed as Denmark eked out a narrow 2-1 win over Czech Republic in the UEFA Euro 2020 quarter-final.
Denmark made a rapid start to the game, going ahead within the opening five minutes courtesy a perfectly-placed header by Thomas Delaney, who was left unmarked inside the box. Thereafter, a largely end-to-end game ensued, although neither goalkeeper was really made to sweat for much of the remainder of the first half.
Denmark, though, were two to the good heading into half-time, with Kasper Dolberg scoring from close range by converting a marvellous pass by Joakim Maehle. Post the interval, Czech Republic came out firing on all cylinders, forcing Kasper Schmeichel into a couple of early saves before Patrik Schick once again produced the goods with a first-time finish from Vladimir Coufal’s cross.
A rattled Denmark took a lot of time to find their feet, but did just about enough to keep their noses in front and clinch the 2-1 win to reach the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-finals, where they will take on the winners of the game between England and Ukraine. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over both the sets of players.
Tomas Vaclik: 7/10
Had absolutely no chance to deny Thomas Delaney, who placed his header perfectly, or Kasper Dolberg for that matter as he scored from point-blank range. Vaclik, though, was at hand to make a few big saves to keep Czech Republic in the game. That all came to naught in the end, as Denmark eked out a narrow 2-1 win over his side.
Vladimir Coufal: 7/10
Coufal has been a picture of consistency ever since he first burst onto the limelight with a move to West Ham United. He has continued that at UEFA Euro 2020 and produced another solid showing against Denmark. Diligent for the most part at the back, Coufal also sent in a few dangerous crosses from the right flank, including one that ended up being the assist for Patrik Schick.
Ondrej Celustka: 6/10
Celustka was typically professional in his performance at the heart of the Czech defence, making a couple of clearances, although there were one or two hairy moments against Kasper Dolberg. Taken off with an injury that ended his game prematurely.
Tomas Kalas: 5/10
In what was a horrendous start to the game, Kalas lost Delaney in the build-up to the opening goal scored by Denmark. Thereafter, there were a few nervy moments, but Kalas improved with every passing minute while keeping a check on his marker smartly. Gave away the initiative with the poor moment early in the first half, though.
Jan Boril: 5/10
Quite a dreadful display by Boril, who just could not manage to get to grips with the pace of the game in the first half. Saw a fair bit of the ball when Czech Republic were on top of Denmark and played a couple of key passes, but defensively, this was one of his poorer showings.
Tomas Holes: 5/10
Coming into the match on the back of a solid showing against Netherlands, Holes produced a rather frustrating performance versus Denmark. Did complete most of his passes, but Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg overpowered him with ease in the first half before he was taken off for Jakub Jankto.
Tomas Soucek: 6/10
A game of hits and misses for Soucek, who was overrun with ease at times in the first half but found stable footing post the interval. Helped push Denmark back in a strong display in the second half, wherein he played a key pass and even came closer to scoring once.
Lukas Masopust: 5/10
A game to forget for Masopust, who barely saw the ball in a first half that simply passed him by. He managed just 15 touches and although he completed all but one of his attempted passes, there was hardly any creativity, which left Patrik Schick isolated at times.
Antonin Barak: 6.5/10
Starting ahead of captain Vladimir Darida, Barak was one of the better players and pulled the strings superbly whenever Czech Republic were on top. Carried a lot of threat with his deliveries from set-pieces, but he could not engineer too many moves.
Petr Sevcik: 5/10
Starting ahead of Jankto on the left wing, Sevcik completed most of his passes and played a couple of key passes as well. However, he could not provide the cutting edge that was needed to slice open the Danish defence as much as he would have liked.
Patrik Schick: 7/10
As has been the case all through his UEFA Euro 2020 campaign, Schick looked a class apart in this Czech Republic side, showing the wave of confidence he is riding at the moment with the classy finish from Coufal’s cross. Alas, it was not enough to inspire a comeback and he went off looking a little leggy. Will not have a chance to pull clear of Cristiano Ronaldo in the Golden Boot race now.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) July 3, 2021
Jakub Jankto: 6.5/10
On for Holes at half-time, Jankto was simply sublime after being introduced, although he could have done more to create more openings. He did complete each of his 20 attempted passes, though, and even played a couple of key passes.
Michael Krmencik: 6.5/10
Introduced at half-time in place of Masopust, Krmencik showed a lot of attacking intent immediately after being subbed in, which rubbed in on his teammates as well before Schick pulled a goal back.
Jakub Brabec: 6/10
On for an injured Celustka, Brabec did not have a lot of defending to do, with Czech Republic having more attacking momentum in the final quarter of the game. Did well whenever called into action, though.
Matej Vydra: N/A
On for a tiring Schick, Vydra managed just eight touches on the ball while misplacing two of the four passes he attempted. A whimper of a cameo.
Vladimir Darida: N/A
On for Sevcik, Darida saw a fair bit of the ball late on, but could not inspire a late comeback.
Kasper Schmeichel: 7/10
Apart from one sloppy piece of goalkeeping in the first half, Schmeichel was once again top class between the sticks for Denmark. Made four saves right out of the top drawer, but could not have done anything to deny Patrik Schick for his goal.
#DEN have reached their first semi-final since 1992!
Peter Schmeichel 🤝 Kasper Schmeichel
Like father, like son. 👨👦
— BBC 5 Live Sport (@5liveSport) July 3, 2021
Andreas Christensen: 6/10
Christensen put in quite a shift on Saturday against Czech Republic, as he usually does. However, the 25-year-old was guilty of affording the Czech forwards a bit too much space at times, which in turn put Schmeichel under pressure at the back. More highs than lows for him, though, all in all.
Simon Kjaer: 6.5/10
The knock he picked against Wales proved to be only a minor issue. Kjaer, though, was fit enough to start and he showed just how crucial he is, keeping Denmark organised and disciplined at the back while making eight clearances and three interceptions. Unfortunately, his rating gets docked a little as he did not close down Schick enough for the goal that Czech Republic scored.
Jannik Vestergaard: 7/10
Vestergaard has been such a big difference-maker ever since he was drafted into the side against Belgium. He continued to be one of the better players for Denmark versus Czech Republic, making five clearances and three interceptions to take some of the burden off of Schmeichel. However, he was sloppy with some of his touches and completed just 68 percent of his attempted passes, which he needs to address.
Jens Stryger Larsen: 7/10
Once again favoured over Daniel Wass in the right wing-back slot, Jens Stryger Larsen was much-improved this time around, charging forward with purpose while also posing a lot of threat with his deliveries. One such ball from a corner produced the assist for Delaney, as Denmark took the lead.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg: 7.5/10
Hojbjerg has been nothing short of brilliant at the European Championship and in the first half, he played a key role in ensuring Denmark were never really troubled by Czech Republic despite the end to end nature of the game. Early in the second half, though, the 25-year-old was rattled by the rallying Czech side and was overrun a fair few times in the middle of the park.
Thomas Delaney: 8/10
🇩🇰 Thomas Delaney = Star of the Match 🥇
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) July 3, 2021
Delaney just continues to go from strength to strength at UEFA Euro 2020, and his header to open the scoring for Denmark was top-notch. Continued to take up dangerous positions higher up the pitch, but should have done more to stop Czech Republic in their tracks during their onslaught in the opening 15-20 minutes in the second half, which pulls his rating back slightly.
Joakim Maehle: 7/10
Maehle was a little slow off the blocks and endured a couple of nervy moments at the back as well. However, once he found his footing, he showed just how crucial he is for Denmark, with the peach of a cross from the outside of the foot creating the goal for Kasper Dolberg. Allowed a few too many crosses from his flank and one of those deliveries was converted by Schick for the first Czech goal.
Martin Braithwaite: 6/10
A typically tireless performance by Martin Braithwaite, who dug his heels and carried the ball confidently all through the game. Was all over the pitch and even put in the hard yards off the ball. However, he could not manage to muster up a shot on target, which was his one major shortcoming in the game.
Kasper Dolberg: 7/10
Preferred to lead the line for Denmark against Czech Republic despite Yussuf Poulsen regaining his fitness, Dolberg grabbed his opportunities with both hands once again. Showed some nice movement, which ultimately yielded him his third goal at UEFA Euro 2020, converting the brilliant cross by Maehle with a first-time finish.
3 – Kasper Dolberg has become Denmark's joint top scorer in European Championship history with three goals (along with Jon Dahl Tomasson, Brian Laudrup, Henrik Larsen and Frank Arnesen). Cool. #DEN #EURO2020 pic.twitter.com/YtfLiguGrr
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) July 3, 2021
Mikkel Damsgaard: 6/10
A bundle of energy as he so often is, Damsgaard worked incredibly hard to put the Czech defence under immense pressure, while having a couple of efforts saved by Tomas Vaclik. However, he was also a bit wasteful at times, retaining a pass completion rate of 77 percent. Still has done his reputation a world of good.
Yussuf Poulsen: 6/10
On for Dolberg, Poulsen made his first appearance since the final Group B game against Russia. And the experienced striker used every trick in the book to stretch the game and even came close to scoring once. Job well done.
Christian Norgaard: 6/10
On for Damsgaard as Kasper Hjulmand went into lead preservation mode, Norgaard was solid in the middle of the park while even playing one key pass. Did his job to ensure Denmark saw the game out safely.
Daniel Wass: 6/10
On for Jens Stryger Larsen, Wass did not see a lot of the ball but defended diligently enough to ensure Denmark did not slip up late on. Even played a key pass and could be in line for a start in the semi-final.
Joachim Andersen: N/A
Introduced in place of Andreas Christensen late on, Andersen helped see the game out.
Mathias Jensen: N/A
A late introduction, Jensen helped see the game out without much of a fuss.