The Welsh are at it again on the big stage at the Round of 16 gets underway. Euro 2020 is being played in 2021 with Free Live Streaming on BBC iPlayer and ITV Sport. Need a Wales Euro 2020 Football VPN?
Their second placed finish in Group A, attained through a draw with Switzerland and a win over Turkey which gave them four points and a superior goal difference to the Swiss who finished in third, has put Wales through to the Round of 16 where they will face Denmark in Amsterdam. Will Wales Euro 2020 campaign continue?
🏴 Wales vs Denmark 🇩🇰
📺 Free Live Euro 2020 Streaming on BBC One + Catchup on BBC iPlayer
📅 26 June 2021
⏰ 1700 BST
The Danes finished second in Group B, despite losing to both Iceland and Belgium, with their 4-1 demolition of Russia being enough to secure passage through to the knock-outs. The Danes qualification brought joy to most, as they had been adopted as many people’s second favourite team after the terrible scenes which saw Christian Eriksen suffer a heart-attack during their opening game with Finland.
That UEFA made the Danes finish that game rather than just declaring it a 0-0, something both teams surely would have been agreeable to in the circumstances, was nothing short of a disgrace but the manner in which Denmark conducted themselves both as the Eriksen incident was unfolding and in the aftermath brought them well deserved adulation. As have their performances on the field.
They were clearly in no fit state to finish the Finland match, but they did so. They flew out of the traps against Belgium and for 35 minutes were the better team, before they ran out of energy and the mental exhaustion of the previous few days took its toll. No such worries against Russia, as they turned in one of the best team performances of the competition and scored two of the tournaments best goals.
Mikkel Damsgaard’s brilliant curled effort from 20 yards, Andreas Christenson’s thunderbolt from 25 and goals from Youssef Poulson and Joakim Maehle saw them send the Russians home and send the home crowd at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen into euphoric celebration.
The goodwill surrounding the Danes has continued to grow and with Eriksen now out of hospital and on the road recovery there will be growing support for them among neutrals. Going into this game, Wales are being positioned as the spoilers. The ones who could end the Danish dream. It’s not a role they asked for, but it’s one they should embrace. In fact, it’s one they need to embrace if they are to overcome a team filled with confidence.
Wales lost their third group game to Italy but with progress already secured they played the game with little pressure and the result was largely irrelevant. Second place worked out perfectly for them in terms of how the knock-out round draw broke down as they find themselves in the bottom half of the draw which is significantly weaker than the top half. That game was largely used to get minutes into the legs of players and maintain the fitness levels of senior players. The only negative from the game was the red card shown to Ethan Ampadu which will rule him out of the Denmark game. Aside from that, the Welsh came through unscathed and will be at full strength for their game against the Danes.
The big question for Rob Page will be whether he goes with the 4-3-3 he used in the opening games against Switzerland, or the 4-2-3-1 he utilised against Turkey. With Denmark likely to again line up with the 3-4-3 they’ve been using since Eriksen went out, the 4-3-3 might give Wales an advantage in transition as they look to utilise Daniel James and Gareth Bale on the counter attack. It will give them an extra man advantage in midfield where Denmark will have the work rate and industry of Thomas Delaney and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and that extra man is likely to be Aaron Ramsey who might be able to move unnoticed between the lines and make the unchecked runs into the box that he managed against Turkey.
In Danny Ward, Wales have arguably the best goalkeeper from the group stage, in terms of performance in those games rather than ability or level, and they will need him to once again be at his best because their defence has not been overly impressive. Ben Davies has been the stand-out in the back four, with his intelligent positional play and anticipation allowing him to cover across behind Chris Mepham and Joe Rodon who have struggled a bit thus far. The Danes don’t, despite scoring four against Russia, possess an elite goal threat. Poulsen and Martin Braithwaite are more along the lines of facilitators rather than frequent goalscorers. Both are hard-working selfless players who press endlessly off the ball and make constant runs offering themselves for team-mates, while the third member of Denmark’s front three is Martin Darmsgaard, a winger, who’s very inexperienced at this level and suffers from the inconsistency that comes with being a young player.
As mentioned above, the fairytale story is that the Danes keep going. That they defeat Wales and head into a quarter-final against the Netherlands or the Czech Republic. Wales will have very different ideas, and will be out to spoil the party. They can’t allow themselves to have any sort of sympathy for the Danes. They can’t allow themselves to be distracted from the mission. They have to be the bad guys. They have to crush dreams and pour cold water on the blaze of support that has taken up behind Denmark.
If Bale and Ramsey turn up, they are absolutely capable.
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