Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley will keep focusing on his daily routines for self-improvement rather than be derailed by thoughts of Euro 2024 after making his Denmark debut in midweek.

The 23-year-old won his first cap in Monday’s 2-0 defeat against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Kasper Hjulmand’s side had already won their group before the Belfast trip and O’Riley will keep trying to impress for Celtic with his international hopes firmly in the back of his mind.

“The first cap is obviously a good moment, albeit it wasn’t our best performance, but at the same time you are still playing for your country,” he said.

“It was a proud moment for me and my family also. My family were there, my mum and dad, girlfriend and agent/friend.

“It’s obviously a new experience, new team-mates, new players, that’s always challenging because it’s a new environment, new people, so it takes a bit of time to adapt naturally but I found it relatively easy just because they are really nice people.

“The first few days you are a little bit nervous, just getting into it, but after that you are fine.

“It’s not something I gave too much thought to, you are still just playing football at the end of the day. If I am playing with good players and playing under a good manager, it shouldn’t really be a problem to play well.

“And yeah, of course I was disappointed with the result and I was hard on myself after the game because you naturally are when you lose but I received some nice feedback regardless.

“I am obviously in the mix now so it’s about trying to keep improving.”

On the prospect of playing in Germany next summer, the former MK Dons midfielder said: “It was always a target anyway. It’s something I try not to think about too much on a regular basis, it’s more a case of daily processes here, boring day-to-day stuff, that usually helps get you to where you want to get to.

“It’s four or five months to the next camp so there is a lot of football to be played for your club before then and a lot of things can happen in terms of performances, so I will try my best.

“That’s what got me there in the first place and I will try to keep improving as a player.

“I feel good, feel strong physically and mentally, which is progress. I feel like I have improved a lot this season on various aspects.”

One of those aspects is goalscoring – O’Riley has six goals to his name ahead of Saturday’s visit of Motherwell, more than his total from last term.

When asked what had contributed to his figures, the former Fulham trainee said: “A clearer mind first and foremost, I am more open when I am on the pitch.

“Secondly just getting into the right positions to score and then taking a little bit of pressure off myself, not expecting myself to score every game, just going into trying to do my best for the team and naturally you get your outcomes.

“You have to go through experiences. I had to go through the phase where I didn’t score for a long time to know maybe then how to take pressure off myself the next time.

“For me the big thing that has helped the most is just being in the best frame of mind. That’s something I give a lot of attention to on a daily basis.

“I meditate a lot, I speak regularly with my friend/life coach who lives in India. I work a lot with him in terms of speaking about things that were maybe kept inside me for a long time.

“I might not have had the knowledge to understand how to speak about it.

“That has helped me loads, I feel more confident and open to speak to people in general.”

Graham Arnold suggested Australia could have a "new golden generation" on their hands after they qualified for the last 16 of the World Cup.

The Socceroos' 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday meant they finished second in Group D behind France, despite the defending champions losing 1-0 to Tunisia.

Mathew Leckie's goal on the hour-mark was enough for Australia, and head coach Arnold was beaming with pride at his post-match press conference.

"I'm just so proud of the players," he said. "The work ethic, their commitment, their fight, the way they played.

"Denmark are a very good team, they're top 10 in the world for a reason - defensively, I thought we were outstanding."

After their victory against Tunisia, Australia's win meant they achieved consecutive victories at a World Cup for the first time, while they progressed from the group stages for just the second time in six tournament appearances (also 2006).

Thousands of fans gathered at Federation Square in Melbourne to watch the game and celebrate the win, and Arnold believes it shows the impact of football in the country.

"I truly believe the Socceroos are a team that unites the nation," he added. "When the Cricket World Cup is on you don't see Federation Square like that.

"I'm so proud we've been able to put smiles on people's faces. Maybe we should be talking about a new golden generation now, after the golden generation of 2006 who got four points [at the World Cup in Germany], we got six."

Goalscorer Leckie admitted he had "no idea" that Tunisia had scored against France moments before he did against Denmark, meaning Australia had briefly been on course to head out themselves. 

Speaking to reporters, the 31-year-old described his thinking for the goal, saying: "We won the ball, I had one more man to beat, I wanted to cut inside but the defender went that way too, so just in the moment I went left again and swung the left boot.

"For the celebration I didn't really know what to do. I got slapped in the head [by team-mates and substitutes] about 100 times. It shows how much of a team we are. Everyone's here for each other, it's so nice to be a part of this team."

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand did not want to speak too much about his team's performance, preferring to wait until he had a chance to process it, but did admit: "We did not reach our level, no doubt.

"We did not produce the quality we can. It is my responsibility that when you come to the World Cup that you reach your best level and we didn't do that."

The Danes had 68.8 per cent possession and created 13 chances, but hit the target just three times at Al Janoub Stadium as they crashed out of the tournament.

"We haven't played with the tempo and rhythm," Hjulmand added. "We started well, but our structures went out of the match. There was too little quality.

"We shouldn't have gone in with such emotion, but should have shown more quality. Our quality was good against France, but in the two other games it was not good enough."

Australia advanced to the last 16 of the World Cup after securing a hard-fought 1-0 win over Denmark on Wednesday.

Mathew Leckie's winning goal at Al Janoub Stadium meant Tunisia - who drew with France - joined Denmark in exiting the tournament as Graham Arnold's side went through as Group D runners-up.

The Socceroos qualify for the knockout stage of the World Cup for only a second time from six tournament appearances, having only previously done so in 2006, and will now play the winners of Group C.

It is home time for Kasper Hjulmand's men though, who disappointed after reaching the Euro 2020 semi-finals, and are now winless in their last six World Cup games (D4 L2), since beating Peru in their first game of the 2018 tournament.

Kasper Hjulmand conceded he feels part of something he does not like after Denmark were among the European nations to backtrack on wearing OneLove armbands.

Denmark, along with England, Wales, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands, had planned for their captains to wear the armband – which promotes diversity and inclusion – for the duration of their campaigns at the World Cup in Qatar.

Yet under pressure from FIFA, the teams released a statement on Monday confirming the plan, which was in order to protest against the questionable human rights record of the host nation, would not go ahead.

Denmark drew 0-0 with Tunisia in their opening game on Tuesday, but Hjulmand's post-match press conference was dominated by the furore surrounding the issue.

"In Denmark, we have a slogan 'part of something bigger'," Hjulmand told reporters. "At the moment, I'm not sure if I'm part of something I like.

"I like the football, I love football, I love the diversity, love all countries, love different people. It's important to change direction."

Hjulmand also made a point of adding he wants to see "young, progressive people enter governing bodies", and that he hopes people will begin to have more empathy with one another.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino insisted during a media address on Saturday that "everybody was welcome" to Qatar, where homosexuality is a crime.

However, it has been reported FIFA were pressurising the seven teams planning to wear the armband, with the possibility of not only economic fines, but sporting sanctions - such as instant yellow cards or even a one-match suspension for the player wearing the garment.

"I cannot confirm anything," Hjulmand replied when asked if the threats went further than a booking. "I don't think that it's clear what would happen, but there have been threats that affected the sporting side.

"A fine wouldn't be a problem. We had expected no problem with the captain's armband. This is standing up for diversity, every person, every shade of people, that is not a political statement.

"It's difficult when it's something that we really value. I value it, the players value it, but it's really damn difficult to do that.

"This is my first World Cup match, I've been dreaming about this. Here I am in it, and we talk about something completely different, how wild is that?"

Hjulmand made it clear he did not see the issue as a reason for his team's somewhat underwhelming display against Tunisia.

"Not an excuse. It's not so much unrest that my concentration suffers, but enough unrest as a human being. Yes, I spend too much time every day now figuring out how to handle this," he said.

"There's so many things I want to say and want to do. I'm fighting with that, I must say. But I'm there 100 per cent for the players. But I can tell you that I have difficulties finding myself here.

"We just know there will be consequences and maybe it has to do with results, or the football part of it. I think it's very hard on the players to tell them about this. I don't think we can put that on the players, definitely not here.

"I will protect my players, they have total freedom of speech and behaviour. Maybe there are other ways. I was very touched by the team from Iran yesterday [not singing the Iranian national anthem].

"I also think that something must happen, maybe it's from us that's involved in it. It's difficult, but I don't think we can put this on the players.

"The focus, the amount of energy you have to play with, where they are in their lives, I don't think it’s the right thing to put that on the players."

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand said noisy support for Tunisia "gave them wings" as his team could only scrape a 0-0 draw in their World Cup opener.

While Tunisia were lifted by their large contingent of fans at Education City Stadium, Denmark struggled to produce the form that took them to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.

Hjulmand insisted his players were not shaken by the vociferous backing for their opponents, but he acknowledged the opposition benefited from the crowd's passion.

"I've great respect for Tunisian football and how much it means for a country like Tunisia," Hjulmand said. "They did great, it was a great atmosphere. I cannot say it influenced our performance, but it definitely gave them wings.

"They made an atmosphere that was perfect for them. But we were prepared, and I cannot say that was the reason for the performance. My players have played in much tougher.

"We never said Tunisia would be a game that was easy to win for us, but we definitely had an aim of winning this one because we knew a result in this game would have helped us.

"Now it could be complicated. It's one point each, now we have two great games. We're looking forward to France, we can't wait to get started – one game at a time, next is France."

The Group D stalemate was a result that should give Tunisia encouragement. They have never gone beyond the group stage in a World Cup, so to get immediately off the mark is a great start. They face Australia next, on Saturday, before tackling France four days later.

Tunisia coach Jalel Kadri said the volume from the stands against the Danes had been inspiring.

"We know the crowd is very important for us. It's always very important mentally, it gives us a great lift, and I'm looking forward to seeing the fans continue to do that," Kadri said.

"It really helped us in terms of our game. Tactically we played very well, and we deserved the draw and we played very well.

"We played against a powerhouse of the tournament. We saw that our team performed very well. I should commend my players. Maybe we just lacked a bit of efficacy on the ground. We should have capitalised on the chances to have a better result."

Tunisia experienced a late handball scare, with Yassine Meriah fearing he had given away a penalty, but referee Cesar Arturo Ramos elected not to give a spot-kick after viewing the incident on a pitch-side monitor.

"I cannot describe my feeling," Kadri said of that moment. "The VAR has every right to intervene. Today it was in our favour – this is what football is about. We talk about decisions – FIFA decisions, VAR decisions – these have to be respected."

Denmark were the surprise package at Euro 2020 and by the end of the group stage, were also everyone's second team.

This was partly due to their impressive performances, recovering from losing their first two group matches to thrash both Russia and Wales, before beating the Czech Republic to reach the semi-finals.

Denmark ultimately lost to England in the final four, but there was another reason why non-Danes had developed a soft spot for the team.

The harrowing scenes in their opening defeat to Finland in Copenhagen as medics attempted to revive Christian Eriksen on the pitch after he collapsed left those watching hoping for the best outcome for the player and his team-mates, who created a barrier around him.

Thankfully, not only did Eriksen survive, but he has since returned to the top level of the game, coming off the bench against the Netherlands in March to a standing ovation before finding the back of the net just two minutes later.

The Manchester United midfielder's presence will be symbolic and inspirational in Qatar, but head coach Kasper Hjulmand is under no illusion that his team will need to rely on more than positivity, saying: "I think we're in a good position, but you cannot just go on emotions and play. We will need to have quality on the pitch.

"I think that the football quality is there and we're ready."

Denmark were no one-tournament wonders either, sailing through their World Cup qualifying group, winning their first nine games and keeping clean sheets in their first eight, more than any other team.

One player Tunisia will need to keep an eye on is full-back Joakim Maehle. No player scored more goals for Denmark in qualifying than Maehle (five, level with Andreas Skov Olsen), while no player was directly involved in more goals for the nation during Euro 2020 than the Atalanta man (three, two goals and one assist).

They will have a tough job against Tunisia though, with the Eagles of Carthage experts at keeping games tight and stopping the opposition from playing.

Jalel Kadri was appointed as head coach after their disappointing quarter-final exit to Burkina Faso at the Africa Cup of Nations, and started by beating Mali over two legs to qualify for Qatar 2022 and winning four of their next five games, before a 5-1 friendly humbling at the hands of Brazil in September.

He has set high standards for himself, recently saying: "If we do not reach the knockout phase of the 2022 World Cup, I will leave. I have a contract based on results and being eliminated from the group stage will be a failure for me."

While Tunisia will not be easy to break down, their record at World Cups will need to improve if they are to make any mark on the tournament.

Tunisia have lost 60 per cent of their World Cup games (nine out of 15), the third-highest percentage by a team to have played at least 15 games in the competition, behind only Saudi Arabia (69 per cent - 11 of 16) and Australia (63 per cent - 10 of 16).

Their record against European opposition also leaves a lot to be desired, having played the most games against European opponents at the World Cup of any side without winning (D3 L7). In fact, each of their last four defeats in the competition came against teams from Europe (Spain and Ukraine in 2006, England and Belgium in 2018).



Denmark – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg 

The Tottenham man has developed into one of Europe's premier deep-lying midfielders, and will provide the drive in the middle next to Eriksen's more refined skill.

In the Premier League this season, only Manchester City's Rodri has attempted more than his 925 passes, while in Europe's big five leagues, only Pedri (seven), Lionel Messi, Mario Gotze (both six), Joshua Kimmich and Harvey Barnes (both five) have recorded more than Hojbjerg's four secondary assists (the pass before the assist).

Tunisia – Wahbi Khazri

The former Sunderland and Saint-Etienne forward has been the main man for his country on the big stage, and will be needed to show off his talents again in Qatar.

Khazri has been directly involved in each of Tunisia's last four goals at the World Cup (two goals, two assists), and also had three goal involvements at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year (two goals, one assist).


Possibly due to the form of the Danes and Tunisia's poor record at World Cups, Hjulmand's men will be clear favourites at Education City Stadium.

According to Stats Perform's AI model, Denmark have a 65.0 per cent chance of victory, with Tunisia at just 13.9 per cent to win.

The draw, rated at 21.1 per cent, seems possible given Denmark's lack of a proven goalscorer and their opponents' ability to close games down.

Christian Eriksen's love for football brings joy to Kasper Hjulmand, who believes Denmark must set out to win the World Cup.

Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's first game of Euro 2020 against Finland in Copenhagen last year.

Denmark's players shielded their team-mate from the eyes of the crowd and cameras as Eriksen received emergency medical treatment.

The midfielder made an incredible recovery and six months later returned to action when he signed for Brentford, having been unable to play for Inter after having a cardioverter defibrillator device fitted.

Eriksen was superb for the Bees and earned a move to Manchester United, where he has made a strong start to the season and is back to spearhead Denmark's bid to go deep into the World Cup.

"Before the Euros, before everything happened with Christian I said he was the heart and heartbeat of the team," Hjulmand said in a press conference.

"When he plays he has a fantastic way of taking the rhythm of the game, feeling and controlling the game with his passing, intelligence, his vision and also his work ethic.

"It's great to have Christian back. He's a fantastic player but an even better person and on and off the pitch he gives us so much.

"I remember when he came back in March, in the first minutes he scored against the Netherlands in Amsterdam, and after that we had him back.

"It's just a pleasure to work with Christian, you have to drag him off the pitch every day. He just loves playing. The love for the game is the most important thing for Christian."

Denmark went on to reach the semi-finals of the European Championship without Eriksen, losing to England.

They face Tunisia in their opening match on Tuesday, with France and Australia their other opponents in Group D.

Asked by Stats Perform what targets Denmark had set for the tournament, Hjulmand replied: "I'm not very good at goal-setting like that. Our dream is to win something.

"So when you go into a tournament I think this group of players has the quality to win, and I mean win everything.

"Are we the favourites? No. I think still we have something to improve in our squad, our game, but we can beat everyone on the day.

"We have a very strong self-confidence, a very good group of players working well together and the best way of winning is to dream big and actually say that we go into a tournament to win it and then focus what's right in front of you.

"The first thing is a very difficult game against Tunisia. We will see from there. We have a very good feeling, we are ready to attack."

England are considering their approach to the OneLove campaign after it emerged captain Harry Kane could be booked for wearing the rainbow armband in their World Cup opener against Iran on Monday.

OneLove, which promotes 'inclusion and sends a message against discrimination of any kind', has grown in significance in the build-up to the tournament in Qatar, a country in which homosexuality is illegal.

England, along with other European nations like Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands, formed an alliance with all stating their captains would wear the armband in a show of solidarity and support with the LGBTQ community.

However, FIFA attempted to wrestle back control of the narrative on Saturday by launching their own collection of armbands across a range of social issues with a different subject for each stage, including 'Save the Planet' and 'Bring the Moves'.

It also emerged they were also considering ordering referees to issue yellow cards to captains wearing the OneLove armbands as soon as matches kicked off.

It has left the Football Association (FA) in an uncomfortable position just hours before Gareth Southgate's men open their campaign at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha.

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham told Radio 4's Today programme: "We've had meetings with FIFA this morning and there are discussions that are carrying on.

"We're very keen to wear the armband, we want to do it, but we would need to consider the implications.

"Normally in these situations there'd be a fine that would get paid and we've always said we are very happy to do that – well, happy might be the wrong word but we'd be prepared to pay the fine because we think it's important to show our support for inclusion.

"If the sporting sanction threat is real, though, we'd need to look at that, take a step back and work our if there's another way to show our values."

Christian Eriksen has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of his long-awaited return to the Danish national team next week.

The 30-year-old, who suffered a cardiac arrest during Denmark's Euro 2020 clash with Finland last June, has impressed since joining Brentford on a free transfer in January.

He registered an assist during the Bees' 2-0 win over Burnley this month with what was his first goal involvement since his return to football.

Eriksen's strong club form led him to receive a call-up for his country's upcoming friendly matches, but the positive test will delay the midfielder's journey to meet up with the squad.

Although, Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand hopes the Brentford man will still be available to feature in clashes against the Netherlands – to be played at the home of Eriksen's former club Ajax – and against Serbia in Copenhagen. 

"We've been running dialogue with Christian and Brentford on the situation," Hjulmand said.

"We expect to see Christian as soon as possible, later in the week. 

"We are happy to get him in the team and expect to have him with us for the exciting friendly matches against Holland and Serbia."

The creative midfielder's positive test ruled him out of Brentford' Premier League clash with Leicester City on Sunday, despite Bees boss Thomas Frank claiming during his pre-match media duties that Eriksen had since returned a negative test result.

Eriksen has earned 109 caps for Denmark – putting him 20 appearances short of Peter Schmeichel's record of 129 outings for his country – and has scored 36 international goals.

Denmark became just the second team to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after defeating Austria 1-0 in Group F.

Joakim Maehle's second-half strike proved enough to edge past Franco Foda's side on Tuesday and claim an unassailable seven-point lead over Scotland with two matches left to play.

The narrow win meant Kasper Hjulmand's team also maintain their perfect record in 2022 World Cup qualifying matches, having won all eight games without conceding a single goal.

Denmark, while remaining resolute at the back, have mustered 27 unanswered goals, with thrashings of Moldova, Israel and Austria in the reverse fixture capping a perfect campaign for the Scandinavian outfit.

Hjulmand's men head to Qatar in 13 months' time with major tournament experience under their belt as well after making it to the semi-finals of Euro 2020 before suffering extra-time heartbreak against England.

Indeed, Denmark – who dealt with the hospitalisation of Christian Eriksen during the opening stages of the competition – started with consecutive losses but defied the odds to reach the last four.

They became just the fifth side in the history of the World Cup and European Championships to both win three games and lose three games in the same edition.

However, Denmark will look to use that experience after exiting at the last-16 stage in the previous World Cup to chase further success in 2022.

Aside from Denmark, Germany are the only other team to have earned qualification so far to join hosts Qatar at the tournament.

Kasper Hjulmand is confident Denmark will triumph at a major tournament after they suffered a semi-final exit to England at Euro 2020.

The Danes – who were rocked by Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest in their opening game of their campaign – have garnered plenty of support throughout the tournament, but fell short in a 2-1 defeat to Gareth Southgate's team at Wembley on Wednesday.

Harry Kane tucked away a rebound after seeing a penalty, contentiously awarded for a foul on Raheem Sterling, saved by Kasper Schmeichel in extra-time.

It proved too much for Denmark, who took the lead through Mikell Damsgaard's excellent free-kick – the first direct free-kick goal of Euro 2020 – to come back from. Simon Kjaer's own goal, the first Denmark have scored at a European Championship, had dragged England level before half-time.

Though they ultimately fell at the penultimate hurdle, Hjulmand has nothing but pride for his team, and he feels success is just around the corner.

"Obviously, it's a big disappointment that we're so close to the final, and different circumstances during the match mean that we're not taking the last step," he told a news conference.

"It has been amazing what the boys have done. There's a fantastic power within these guys. They play football in a fantastic way.

"We've been attacking, scoring goals and showed our true selves. The players just went on with everything they have – both off and on the pitch.

"We have a team that saved the life of one of our players. I am very happy for our country, we have been a good team, a lot of love and we received support.

"We were emotional, we could have made it to the final, there will be new opportunities, I look to the future with hope. We can be proud of these kids!

"Our only disappointment is not reaching the final. We can achieve great success in a big tournament again."

Wednesday's encounter was the seventh game at Euro 2020 to go to extra-time, with the 1990 and 2014 World Cups the only major tournaments to reach that figure.

Sterling's energy ultimately proved the difference in that period, with the in-form Manchester City forward, who completed 10 dribbles in the game, finding a gap in Denmark's defence before drawing a foul from Joakim Maehle, one of the standout performers of Euro 2020.

The contact appeared to be minimal, but VAR did not overturn the decision from referee Danny Makkelie to award an England penalty.

"It bothers me to know that the penalty was not right," said Hjulmand, whose frustration was evident. "The players put in a lot of effort. We didn’t want to be eliminated like that."

Denmark's squad are constantly thinking of Christian Eriksen as their Euro 2020 adventure continues, so says Kasper Hjulmand.

The Danes beat the Czech Republic 2-1 on Saturday to progress to their fourth European Championship semi-final – and their first since they won the tournament in 1992.

Hjulmand's side, whose tally of 11 goals in the competition trails only Spain, will face Ukraine or England at Wembley on Wednesday after Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg saw them through in Baku.

Denmark – the first team to qualify from the group stage despite losing their first two games – have become the story of the tournament following Eriksen's cardiac arrest on the pitch in Copenhagen in their opener against Finland.


Eriksen has subsequently recovered and is in regular contact with his team-mates, who have gone from strength to strength, garnering a wave of support not just at home, but across the continent.

"I think the whole world of football understood that second, and the days after, the fundamental things in life and in football, the fundamental values of football came through right at that moment," Hjulmand told a news conference.

"There are so many other agendas in football, but we all remembered why we started to play football, what values football is based on and we had a reminder of this.

"I am still thinking of Christian every single day. He should have been here.

"We are happy that he survived, we carry him all the way to this match and all the way to Wembley. I think about him all of the time.

"We all understood maybe that the values of football came through – and maybe we are a symbol of it. I could not be more happy than that.

"We are just happy and proud we can maybe just remind ourselves why we love football and what football can do in the world."


Denmark's first-half display ultimately did the damage against the Czech Republic, who dragged one back through Patrik Schick early in the second half.

Schick joined Cristiano Ronaldo at the top of the Euro 2020 scoring charts, but will not get the chance to add to his tally as Denmark held firm.

Delaney got things started for before Dolberg joined a host of Denmark legends on three goals at European Championships, and the Borussia Dortmund midfielder added of Eriksen: "It is still something we are struggling with, but making him proud makes me happy."

Kasper Dolberg described his two-goal haul against Wales as "completely crazy" after helping to fire Denmark into the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 with a 4-0 win.

The Nice forward scored either side of half-time to put the Danes in control of Saturday's last-16 tie at the Johan Cruijff ArenA, where he previously spent three years with Ajax.

In doing so, Dolberg became only the second Denmark player after Henrik Larsen against the Netherlands in 1992 to score two goals in a knockout game at a major tournament.

Further goals from Joakim Maehle and Martin Braithwaite followed, either side of Harry Wilson's red card, as Kasper Hjulmand's side ran riot in Amsterdam.

Dolberg, who is Denmark's youngest scorer in the knockout stages of the Euros, received the man of the match award and struggled to sum up his emotions after the match.

"It's completely crazy. I actually don't know how I feel. This is total madness. It's surreal," he told Danish television station DR.

"It was here it all started for me with Ajax, and to play here again in this setting was insane."


Since the start of 2019, only Christian Eriksen (11) has scored more goals for Denmark than the eight Dolberg has managed.

He had more shots (four) and shots on target (three) than anyone on the field, despite having just five touches in the Wales box before being taken off after 70 minutes, and scored his two goals from an expected-goals (xG) return of 1.1.

"It had to end this way with him scoring on his old home ground. I had a good feeling about him, and he was fantastic," Denmark boss Hjulmand told DR.

After thrashing Russia 4-1 to book their place in the last 16, Denmark are the first side ever to score four or more goals in successive European Championship matches.

It is also the first time they have won back-to-back matches at a single major tournament since the 1986 World Cup, and a meeting with either the Netherlands or the Czech Republic awaits in next week's quarter-finals.

"It's hard to believe that this is reality. I admire the boys and the fact that we can keep fighting," Hjulmand added. "No matter who plays, they play very well. The guys are true warriors.

"We showed today we are able to be flexible. Not everything was perfect during the game but we improved and that's something we've done several times."

Kasper Hjulmand said Denmark after thinking about Christian Eriksen "all the way" as the head coach revelled in the nation's magical night at Euro 2020.

Denmark remarkably booked their place in the last 16 of Euro 2020 with a stirring 4-1 win over Russia in Copenhagen on Monday, setting up a showdown against Wales.

After losing 1-0 to Finland – a game overshadowed by the cardiac arrest suffered by star midfielder Eriksen – and 2-1 to star-studded Belgium, Denmark's hopes of making the knockout stages were slim before the clash at the Parken Stadium. 

But Denmark produced a devastating performance to open their account at Euro 2020 and seal second spot in Group B thanks to goals from Mikkel Damsgaard, Yussuf Poulsen, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle.

Denmark became the first team in European Championship history to reach the knockout stages of the competition having lost their first two group-stage games, while it also marked the first time Denmark had scored four goals in a major tournament game since a 4-1 victory over Nigeria at the 1998 World Cup.

"What a night. We hoped that it would be a magic night at Parken," Hjulmand told reporters. "I want to start by saying thank you to all the people who have been supporting us and have shown so much love.

"I don't think it would have been possible without all the support. I could feel that it really affected the players, so thank you so much for all the support. It means the world to us.

"The motivation, the team spirit and the friendship among the players were amazing. We played three games at a very high level, and if anyone deserves this, it's our players. I can't imagine how they managed to come back from what they went through, so a big credit to the boys. Thanks a lot for the support we've got from the whole of Denmark.

"I think it helps the team and hopefully it gives the country some good moments. It's something we all love, so thank you and a huge congratulations to the boys. It's really awesome."

Hjulmand added: "I have to say that the team spirit we have, and how everyone contributes, is amazing. And then mixing it up with amazing performances is just fantastic.

"AC [Andreas Christensen] is one of the best defenders out there. He has everything that a player needs. Joakim [Maehle], I don't know if he is still running out there. He just runs. He's very, very strong. He runs a lot. I don't know what he's taking, but he runs a lot. He manages the left side, but that's of course with more players. That's part of the team spirit, and people who didn't get to play today, I respect them a lot. I respect the people who did contribute on the pitch, the technical staff.

"It's hard to describe what this team has been through in the past four weeks. We're thinking about Christian [Eriksen] all the way, and Wales are a very tough opponent. They came very far last time. They have really great players, so I think it's going to a very equal game. They're very flexible, they change their strategies and their positions, so it's going to be hard to know what to expect from that time.

"It's just like with ourselves. We started a little weakly, but we moved AC and changed a few positions, and that's what Wales do a lot. It's going to be a very interesting and equal game."

Russia boss Stanislav Cherchesov said: "I thanked the guys for what they've done. They were up for this game but it just didn't go our way. We could have taken our chances in the first half but didn't, then conceded a goal from a half-chance and couldn't get back in the game. We have to think about all of this and move forward."

Denmark will have to show more quality in front of goal in Monday's Euro 2020 clash with Russia if they are to have any hope of progressing from Group B.

Kasper Hjulmand's side have scored from just one of their 43 shots in this year's tournament, while their opponents have had seven shots against them and scored three times.

After losing 1-0 to Finland – a game overshadowed by the cardiac arrest suffered by Christian Eriksen – and 2-1 to Belgium, Denmark are now in the last chance saloon.

They can finish second if they beat Russia and Finland lose to Belgium, depending on the goals scored in those two matches, while only a win will do for third place.

Following positive updates on the health of Eriksen, who has been discharged from hospital, Hjulmand's focus for now is on getting three points against Russia in Copenhagen.

"No matter what, we shall go out there and try to win the match," he said. "It's going to be an unbelievably hard match against Russia.

"They are coming to Parken with a result they can use for something. We shouldn't force anything. We have to keep a level head."

Russia put their 3-0 loss to Belgium behind them with a 1-0 win over Finland last time out and will advance to the last 16 with a victory on Monday, while a draw may be enough.

The visitors have had a day's extra rest than Denmark, but head coach Stanislav Cherchesov insists there will be more to the game than fitness alone.

"That can be important at major tournaments, but not necessarily vital," Cherchesov said. "What will be vital is the tactics, the team, our approach. 

"I have no doubt that we will play at our best level. Our task is to do our job well and get the result."


Russia – Artem Dzyuba

Zenit forward Dzyuba exchanged passes with Aleksey Miranchuk for Russia's winner against Finland – albeit for a goal that was all about the quality of his team-mate's finish – to make it 22 goal involvements in his last 21 international appearances.

That includes 14 goals, the most recent of those coming in March's World Cup qualifying win over Slovenia. Dzyuba has showed that there is more to his game than scoring goals, and Russia will need their captain to be on top of his game on Monday. 

Denmark – Martin Braithwaite

Barcelona forward Braithwaite had seven of his side's 21 shots against Belgium without finding the net – the most by a Denmark player in a Euros match since Preben Elkjaer Larsen had 10 against Spain at Euro 1984.

He found himself in some promising positions in that loss to the world's top-ranked side, and was desperately unlucky not to score from a late header that hit the crossbar, but Denmark could do with one of Braithwaite's efforts ending in the opposition net.


– Since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia and Denmark have only met once, in a friendly at Copenhagen's Parken Stadium in February 2012. Russia won 2-0.

– Russia kept a clean sheet last time out against Finland. They had conceded in 16 of their previous 17 major tournament games (Euros and World Cup), since keeping consecutive shutouts against Greece and Sweden at Euro 2008.

– Denmark have suffered defeat in each of their two group stage games at Euro 2020. They have twice previously lost all three of their group games in a European Championships tournament, doing so at Euro 1988 and Euro 2000.

– Russia are looking to record back-to-back wins at the European Championship for the first time since winning three in a row at Euro 2008, the first two wins of which were their final two group games.

– Yussuf Poulsen scored Denmark's goal in their 2-1 defeat to Belgium. Poulsen has only scored in consecutive appearances once for his national side, doing so in June 2018 against Mexico in a friendly and Peru at the World Cup.

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