Euro 2020: Denmark vs Belgium – Daring Danes fall to Brilliant Belgium

Belgium's midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Belgium's midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (Photo by WOLFGANG RATTAY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Denmark put in a brave performance against world number one Belgium in their latest UEFA Euro 2020 group stage match. However, a masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne in the second half sunk the Danes to their second straight defeat.

Match Information

Denmark 1-2 Belgium


Yussuf Poulsen 2′Denmark

Thorgan Hazard 54′ – Belgium

Kevin De Bruyne 70′ – Belgium

Man of the Match

Romelu Lukaku – Belgium

Match Stats:

Screenshot-2021-06-17-at-21-23-18 /

Denmark vs Belgium match recap

The shadow of Christian Eriksen hung over Copenhagen as Denmark welcomed world number 1 Belgium to the Parken Stadium.

Five days ago, it was in this stadium that Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest, but was subsequently rescued by the quick thinking – and actions – of his teammates, referee Anthony Taylor, and the medical staff.

Now fully awake and under observation at the neighboring Rigshospitalet, Eriksen must have switched on the television to watch his teammates play their second group game of the Euros.

It is difficult to know what to expect from a team that has suffered a recent trauma. However, any fears over Denmark’s unpreparedness for the match were removed within 99 seconds when Yussuf Poulsen gave them the lead.

Pierre Emile-Hojbjerg picked up a loose pass from Belgian defender Jason Denayer high up the pitch before playing Poulsen through. The Danish forward took a touch before guiding the ball into the bottom-right corner, much to the delight of those present at the Parken.

Belgium survived an early onslaught by the emotionally charged Danes, with Joachim Maehle going close just minutes after the opening goal. Mikkel Damsgaard and Martin Braithwaite toyed with the world’s best defense, but it stood firm in the midst of constant attacks.

Roberto Martinez rang in the changes before the second half. The most pivotal of those proved to be the introduction of Kevin De Bruyne.

The Manchester City midfielder came on to replace Dries Mertens for his first appearance of the 2020 Euros after sitting out the previous match due to a facial injury. Instantly, Belgium clicked and found the leveler in the 54th minute with De Bruyne assisting Thorgan Hazard.

De Bruyne then put the punctuation on a wonderfully-worked team move to give Belgium the lead. Romelu Lukaku held on to the ball well out on the left channel, before playing a pass to Thorgan Hazard. The younger Hazard played a one-two with his brother, who laid the ball on a plate for De Bruyne to fire in.

The Danes kept on coming, but Belgium held firm. Their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage now rest on their final group game against Russia, as well as the results of other groups.

Denmark’s Player Ratings

Kasper Schmeichel – 6.5; Andreas Christensen – 6.5, Simon Kjaer – 6.5, Jannik Vestergaard – 6.5; Daniel Wass – 6, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 7, Thomas Delaney – 6.5, Joachim Maehle – 7.5; Martin Braithwaite – 7.5, Yussuf Poulsen – 8, Mikkel Damsgaard – 7.5

Subs: Christian Norgaard – 6.5, Jens Stryger Larsen – 6, Andreas Cornelius – 6, Mathias Jensen – 7, Andreas Skov Olsen – 7

Belgium’s Player Ratings

Thibaut Courtois  – 6.5; Toby Alderweireld – 6.5, Jason Denayer – 5.5, Jan Vertonghen – 6.5; Thomas Meunier – 6.5, Youri Tielemans – 7, Leander Dendoncker – 6, Thorgan Hazard – 8; Dries Mertens – 6, Romelu Lukaku – 8.5, Yannick Carrasco – 6.5

Subs: Kevin De Bruyne – 8.5, Axel Witsel – 7.5, Eden Hazard – 7, Thomas Vermaelen – N/A

What did we learn from the game?

All English Premier League
All English Premier League /

All English Premier League

Belgium are, unquestionably, among the favorites to lift the trophy. Despite the early Denmark onslaught, Roberto Martinez’s men dug deep and defended their goal well.

They were helped by a little bit of luck along the way, and both of their goals came during their most impressive spell in the match. Nonetheless, the Red Devils possess enough quality players and have the strength in depth to go on all the way.

That doesn’t mean Belgium are invulnerable. Roberto Martinez’s men did secure passage to the round of 16 but they had to do it the hard way.

Denmark were no pushovers, and apart from a short spell in between – during which Belgium scored both their goals – dominated their opponents. Harder tests await the Red Devils, and they will need to be at their absolute best to pass them.

Meanwhile, for Denmark, this looks much like the end of the road. Given the circumstances, a win would’ve been the perfect way to lift the mood of the nation and the footballing community as a whole.

Screenshot-2021-06-17-at-21-22-34 /

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However, the Danes can take solace in the fact that they pushed the best team in the world all the way. Eriksen, watching on from his hospital bed, would unquestionably have been proud.

Denmark can still qualify for the next round as long as they beat Russia in their next match, and finish as one of the best third-place teams. However, with two back-to-back losses, the chances of that happening are slim.