Denmark stormed into the last 16 of Euro 2020 with a brilliant 4-1 thrashing of Russia at a raucous Parken Stadium on Monday, helping to send five other teams through in the process.
The Danes knew they had to beat Russia by two goals and hope leaders Belgium saw off Finland in Saint Petersburg to snatch second place in Group B despite opening with two defeats.
The first of those losses, to Finland, was overshadowed by Christian Eriksen’s on-pitch collapse, caused by a cardiac arrest.
But it was a joyous night in Copenhagen on Monday as goals from Mikkel Damsgaard, Yussuf Poulsen, Andreas Christensen and Joakim Maehle saw the hosts through in style, as Belgium scored two late goals to beat Finland 2-0.
Kasper Hjulmand’s men will meet Wales in the last 16 in Amsterdam on Saturday.
“The most important (thing) is that we are now united as Denmark,” Maehle told Danish broadcaster DR after the win in front of a 25 000-strong crowd.
“We need to enjoy this moment. I’m super proud of the boys.”
The results in Group B also saw Switzerland, who finished third in Group A, the Czech Republic, England, Sweden and France – all yet to play their final group games – move into the knockout phase.
Austria edged to a 1-0 win over Ukraine earlier on Monday to beat their opponents to a spot in the last 16.
Christoph Baumgartner’s 21st-minute goal proved enough for Austria to secure second place in Group C behind the Netherlands, who saw off North Macedonia 3-0 in a dead rubber in Amsterdam.
Austria will face Group A winners and tournament favourites Italy at Wembley on Saturday for a quarterfinal berth.