Denmark and the Czech Republic both welcome back injured players for their European Championship quarterfinal in Baku on Saturday after an extended rest since their last-16 victories over Wales and the Netherlands respectively.
The Danes, who won the Euros in 1992 after a last-minute inclusion instead of Yugoslavia, are back in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2004.
The Czechs, who won in 1976 and were runners-up in 1996, made their last appearance in the quarters in 2012.
Striker Yussuf Poulsen returns after missing the Danes’ 4-0 drubbing of Wales in Amsterdam last Saturday in a game that saw his replacement Kasper Dolberg score two goals, giving coach Kasper Hjulmand a pleasant selection headache.
“I feel ready to play on Saturday, but it’s Kasper’s decision,” Poulsen, who netted in the group stage games against Belgium and Russia, told a news conference on Thursday.
Having missed playmaker Christian Eriksen since his cardiac arrest in their opener against Finland, Hjulmand’s other attacking players have stepped up, with Mikkel Damsgaard a revelation as the replacement for Eriksen, who is at home recovering.
The Czech Republic booked their berth in the last eight with a 2-0 win over Netherlands on Sunday, and they too have been making the most of their days off.
Czech team captain Vladimir Darida and left-back Jan Boril trained this week after injury issues and will fly with the team to Baku. Darida missed the last-16 match against the Netherlands with an unspecified leg injury while Boril missed out due to two bookings. However, the Slavia defender also had not trained in recent days due to minor injuries.
Coach Jaroslav Silhavy praised Antonin Barak and Pavel Kaderabek, who filled in for them against the Dutch.
“Kaderabek didn’t play for a long time and he did great. The same for Barak,” Silhavy said.
“The players were ready and did well.”
The winners of Saturday’s tie will face a much quicker turnaround as they meet either England or Ukraine in their semifinal at Wembley on Wednesday.