Dutch seal top spot at Euros, tributes for Eriksen as Denmark return
Substitute Kevin de Bruyne set up one goal and scored the winner to give Belgium a 2-1 victory over Denmark in a European Championship game marked by an emotional tribute to Christian Eriksen.
In the earlier game in Bucharest on Friday morning (AEDT), Andriy Yarmolenko grabbed a goal as Ukraine beat North Macedonia 2-1 to boost their chances of reaching the knockout stages from a group topped by the Netherlands, who beat Austria 2-0.
A tribute on Friday morning to Denmark international Christian Eriksen, who collapsed during his country’s Euro 2020 opener against Finland.Credit:Getty Images
Denmark and Belgium stopped their Group B clash in Copenhagen for a minute’s applause as a tribute to the Danish midfielder, who suffered a cardiac arrest in the Danes’ opener against Finland.
It was Denmark’s first game since Eriksen’s collapse, and the hosts started at a furious pace at a raucous Parken Stadium. Yussuf Poulsen scored with a low shot inside the far post in only the second minute.
Players from both teams then halted play after 10 minutes as the 25,000 fans rose for a minute of thunderous applause in tribute to Eriksen, who wears the No. 10 shirt for Denmark’s national team.
De Bruyne came on after half-time for his first appearance since sustaining a facial fracture in the Champions League final and squared the ball for Thorgan Hazard to equalise in the 55th minute. He then scored in the 71st with a low shot from outside the area.
‘We’re going to stick together and we’re gonna beat the Russians, we’re not done in this competition.’
The victory give Belgium a spot in the round of 16. Denmark can still advance with a win over Russia if the Belgians beat Finland.
Coach Kasper Hjulmand said, despite the result, Poulsen’s early goal lifted the spirits of a traumatised team determined to beat Russia to honour their teammate.
“With Christian in our minds and our hearts, we know that he’s still here, we know it’s going to be a tough few weeks for you Christian, we’re here for you,” Hjulmand told a media conference. “We’re going to stick together and we’re gonna beat the Russians, we’re not done in this competition.”
Euro 2020 matchday 2 results
- Finland 0 Russia 1
- Turkey 0 Wales 2
- Italy 3 Switzerland 0
- Ukraine 2 North Macedonia 1
- Denmark 1 Belgium 2
- Netherlands 2 Austria 0
- Sweden v Slovakia, 11pm Friday
- Croatia v Czech Republic, 2am Saturday
- England v Scotland, 5am Saturday
- Hungary v France, 11pm Saturday
Dutch double down
An early Memphis Depay penalty and a Denzel Dumfries goal gave the Netherlands a convincing 2-0 victory over and a place in the last 16 as Group C winners.
The Dutch cannot be overtaken at the head of the standings after a second win while Austria’s hopes rest on the result of their last match against Ukraine.
The 11th-minute spot-kick provided an early platform for the home side and flying full back Dumfries proved a popular scorer at the Johan Cruyff Arena as he doubled the tally in the 67th minute with his second goal in as many matches.
Dumfries had netted the dramatic late winner as the Dutch edged Ukraine 3-2 on Sunday but there was less of a frenetic feel this time as they coasted through the match.
Denzel Dumfries celebrates the Netherlands’ second goal in Amsterdam.Credit:EPA
They were awarded the penalty after Dumfries was caught on the foot by Austrian captain David Alba on the corner of the penalty area. But it was only given after referee Orel Grinfeeld consulted the pitchside VAR monitor, with Depay dispatching spot-kick powerfully underneath the diving Daniel Bachman.
Depay had two more first-half chances to add to his tally, hitting the side netting with snap effort after another Alaba mistake and conjuring up a horror miss five minutes before the break.
Attack partner Wout Weghorst played a square ball in for the unmarked Depay at the back post, but he rushed the effort and skied his side-footed effort wide.
The second goal came after Donyell Malen beat the offside trap and unselfishly played in the charging Dumfries, whose finish was enthusiastically celebrated by his team mates and the 16,000-strong crowd.
Memphis Depay, right, scored the opener for the Dutch from the spot after 10 minutes against Austria.Credit:Getty
The visitors’ first effort on goal came as late as the 84th minute but substitute Karim Onisiwo headed straight at home goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg.
Without the suspended Marko Arnautovic, Austria lacked a cutting edge in attack that they will need against Ukraine in Bucharest on Monday.
“It’s starting to feel like a fairytale. We are really growing, it feels good,” said Dumfries. “We controlled the game and dominated all aspects and deserved the win.”
Andriy Yarmolenko scores for Ukraine against North Macedonia.Credit:Getty Images
Ukraine march on
Andriy Yarmolenko starred for Ukraine in their win over North Macedonia, helping to end his country’s run of six consecutive losses at the European Championship.
North Macedonia have not rolled over as easily as some predicted, but their hopes of reaching the last 16 in their maiden Euros disappeared as the Netherlands proved too strong for Austria.
Ukraine are yet to keep a clean sheet at the Euros, but they at least broke their losing streak, inspired by their 31-year-old captain and marauding winger Yarmolenko in his third appearance at the tournament.
“During the game we had chances to score more goals. The team played well in attack and it was a pleasure to watch them,” manager Andriy Shevchenko said.
Ukraine dominated possession in the opening stages and it took resolute defending from North Macedonia to keep Yarmolenko and Roman Yaremchuk at bay.
Yarmolenko put Ukraine ahead from a corner in the 29th minute, popping up at the back post to beat Stole Dimitrievski with a side-footed finish after latching on to Oleksandr Karavaev’s flick.
The skipper helped double the lead five minutes later, receiving the ball wide on the right and finding Roman Yaremchuk, who timed his run to perfection to stay onside before bending a low shot past Dimitrievski at the near post.
Goran Pandev raised North Macedonia’s hopes when he got in behind the defence and calmly chipped the ball over the keeper to score, but their joy was short-lived when the linesman’s offside flag went up.
Ezgjan Alioski dragged North Macedonia back into the match from a 57th-minute penalty after Karavaev fouled Goran Pandev. Georgiy Bushchan saved the spot kick but the ball rebounded straight back to Alioski who fired home his second attempt.
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