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EURO 2020: Belgium, Denmark qualify for knockouts

EURO 2020: Belgium, Denmark qualify for knockouts
(L-R) Finland’s goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky scores an own goal. Denmark’s Joakim Maehle (centre) celebrates with teammates Thomas Delaney and Christian Norgaard after scoring their team’s fourth goal against Russia. (AP)
COPENHAGEN, JUN 22 (AFP/AP/REUTERS) | Publish Date: 6/22/2021 12:58:46 PM IST

Belgium continued their perfect start to Euro 2020 by beating Finland 2-0 on Monday to finish top of Group B. Denmark claimed an astonishing 4-1 victory over Russia to scramble into the last 16.

For Belgium, the group stage at the European Championship could hardly have gone better.
The world’s top-ranked team beat Finland 2-0 on Monday to finish in first place in Group B and join Italy and the Netherlands in qualifying with maximum points.
Finland finished in third place in its first appearance at a major tournament, nipped by Denmark after its 4-1 victory over Russia in Copenhagen.
Finland, which would have finished in second place with a draw, fell behind in the 74th minute when a header from Thomas Vermaelen hit the post, rebounded onto the outstretched hand of Finland goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky and went over the line.
Romelu Lukaku collected Kevin De Bruyne’s pass to score the other in the 81st for his third goal at Euro 2020.
Belgium will play one of the four third-place finishers in the round of 16 in Sevilla on Sunday.
Denmark 4-1 Russia
Despair turned to exhilaration for Denmark as they claimed an astonishing 4-1 victory over Russia to scramble into the last 16 of Euro 2020 on a head-spinning night in Copenhagen on Monday.
Nine days after Denmark’s talisman Christian Eriksen needed life-saving treatment after suffering a cardiac arrest in front of a stunned Parken Stadium crowd, his team mates duly delivered on their promise to “do it for Christian”.
Needing victory to have any chance of making progress after losing to Finland and Belgium, it was Eriksen’s replacement Mikkel Damsgaard who lit the touch paper with a 38th-minute wonder goal, the first act on a night of high drama.
When a dreadful mistake by Russia’s Roman Zobnin allowed Yussuf Poulsen to double the lead on the hour, it looked as though fate was smiling kindly on Denmark.
It was not that simple as even a win would not have been sufficient had Finland avoided defeat by Belgium, a match bizarrely being played in St Petersburg.
The script took a dark turn when Russia’s giant striker Artem Dzyuba converted a penalty at almost the exact moment a Belgium opening goal was being disallowed by VAR.
But everything turned out alright in the end as Andreas Christensen’s screamer and Joakim Maehle’s late effort completed the demolition of Russia and Belgium beat Finland 2-0.
The stadium erupted and beer filled the air at the final whistle as Denmark remained alive and kicking in a tournament which just over a week ago looked trivial following Eriksen’s brush with death.
Denmark, Finland and Russia all finished Group B on three points, behind Belgium, but the Danes edged through on goal difference and can now look forward to taking on Wales in Amsterdam while Russia are going home.
They are the first team in the history of the Euros to reach the knockout stage after losing their first two games but it took a while for the message to get through to Denmark’s players, who huddled together in the centre circle around a phone for confirmation of Belgium’s win over the Finns.
WEDNESDAY’S MATCHES 
Sweden Vs Poland 9:30 pm 
Slovakia Vs Spain 9:30 pm 
Portugal Vs France 12:30 am (Thursday)
Germany Vs Hungary 12:30 am (Thursday)
 

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