Christian Eriksen’s first-half penalty proved to be the difference between England and Denmark in their Nations League encounter as the Danes handed the Three Lions a 1-0 defeat at the Wembley Stadium.
It was the visitors who started the game on the front foot, with the home side taking their time to settle into a rhythm. However, just as England were growing into the game, their fortunes took a big hit as Harry Maguire was sent off after half an hour.
The next blow for England came just a couple of minutes after going down to ten men. Denmark were awarded a penalty in the 34th minute after Kyle Walker was adjudged to have fouled Thomas Delaney in the box.
The spot-kick was coolly dispatched by Eriksen to compound England’s misery, as they went a man down and a goal down in the space of less than five minutes.
The second half began with the Danes playing safe and preserving their lead, while the 10 men of England were left to rely on Denmark making an error.
This strategy nearly paid dividends for England as the visitors continued with their conservative approach, allowing their hosts to venture forward regularly. Mason Mount was denied by a fantastic reflex save from Kasper Schmeichel, while a goal-line clearance from Simon Kjær kept out Conor Coady’s goal-bound header.
Despite their best efforts, however, the deficit proved too much for the home side to make up. To make matters worse, Reece James was sent off after the final whistle for mouthing off to the referee as frustrations mounted for the Three Lions.
On that note, here are 5 major talking points from Denmark’s first competitive win over England since 1983.
#1 One eye on the Euros already for Gareth Southgate?
Although the Euros are several months away still, there are only a couple of international breaks before Gareth Southgate has to pick the squad that will be representing England in the tournament.
As such, a number of new faces have been seen in the England team over the recent round of international fixtures as Southgate seeks to find the best combination of players to suit his style of play.
The likes of Kalvin Phillips, Conor Coady, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles made their England debuts last month, with Danny Ings also earning himself a recall to the national side. This month, it was Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Bukayo Saka, and Reece James who got their first England caps, and Southgate seems to have decided to go with a 3-4-3 formation going forward.
It was clear that the debutants were not just there to make up the numbers either. Saka and Calvert-Lewin started in the friendly against Wales, while James was handed his first start for the Three Lions against Denmark tonight.
However, with Ben Chilwell injured and Bukayo Saka having only recently made his international bow, a left-sided defender to marshal that flank seems to be the only remaining piece of the puzzle for Southgate to locate.
Having mixed and matched quite a lot over the past few international fixtures, and with another round of international fixtures coming up next month, it will be interesting to see how Southgate’s squad evolves as the Euros draw closer.
#2 Eriksen marks landmark appearance with a goal
Both Christian Eriksen and Simon Kjær were playing their 100th games for the Danish national team. The former marked the special occasion by sending his side into the lead with his first-half penalty.
Eriksen was heavily involved in most of Denmark’s attacking play throughout, as he regularly fed his fellow attackers with trademark accurate passes besides sending a few inviting balls into the box.
Eriksen’s influential performance for Denmark also serves as a timely reminder for his Inter Milan manager Antonio Conte ahead of the Milan derby at the weekend, where, interestingly, he will face off against his countryman and fellow centurion Kjær.