Denmark’s players had two goals before their European Championship quarterfinal – beat the Czech Republic to reach the semifinals at Wembley and make their nation proud. They achieved both on Saturday.
First half goals from Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg were enough to eke out a 2-1 win over the Czechs, who were briefly uplifted by Patrik Schick’s early second half goal which made the Danes sweat until the final whistle.
“It’s hard to put into words… The Czech Republic is an insanely difficult team to play against. We played well in the first half, but the second was difficult,” Kasper Schmeichel told Denmark’s DR TV.
“We can fight and fight, and we did. It was a great relief when he blew the final whistle. Right now we are going to enjoy it.
“We are not thinking too far ahead, because we have achieved something great. These moments come so rarely. We are insanely grateful for the support of the fans. We talked about it in the dressing room before the match, we want to make them proud.”
The team has been riding a wave of emotion since playmaker Christian Eriksen survived a cardiac arrest in their group stage opener in Copenhagen.
Since then, Kasper Hjulmand’s side have stormed into the knockout stages where they convincingly beat Wales 4-0 in the last 16 in Amsterdam before their quarterfinal win set a date at Wembley where they will face either Ukraine or England.
A match in Baku meant only a few fans travelled but there was still a sizeable and noisy Danish contingent in the stands spurring them on while the two goals sparked wild celebrations back home.
“We set a goal, we were going back to Wembley and now we are here. No, I’m looking forward, man,” goal scorer Delaney said.
“I’m just looking forward to watching video from Copenhagen. It feels like we are at home. The support we get and the joy we feel. From Denmark to Baku, man. It’s so cool.”
Denmark have reached the semifinals for the first time since 1992 and skipper Simon Kjaer described their progress as an “insane achievement”.
“We had a goal before the European Championships that was about going to Wembley,” Kjaer said.
“An insane achievement, the whole team, everyone around us.”