Denmark manager sends out warning to Scotland as he reflects on 'bitter' nature of Euro 2020 exit

Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand believes his side can only get better following their controversial Euro 2020 semi-final defeat at the hands of England.

Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand reacts during his side's controversial 2-1 extra-time defeat against England (Photo by CARL RECINE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Denmark manager Kasper Hjulmand reacts during his side's controversial 2-1 extra-time defeat against England (Photo by CARL RECINE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Hjulmand admitted it would take time to get over the manner of their 2-1 loss after extra-time at Wembley. The Danes were eliminated following the award of a heavily debated penalty after Raheem Sterling fell to the turf following a challenge from Joakim Maehle.

Dutch referee Danny Makkelie pointed to the spot but the decision was referred to a VAR check, which confirmed the award to the delight of most of the 60,000 crowd inside Wembley.

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Goalkeeper Kaspar Schmeichel saved Harry Kane’s first effort but could not prevent the England skipper hitting his fourth goal of the tournament from the rebound. Denmark were also unhappy that a stray ball had appeared on the pitch in the run up to the penalty incident that remains such a hot topic of debate.

Hjulmand sought to bring some perspective to the disappointment and referenced Christian Eriksen, who collapsed following a cardiac arrest in Denmark’s opening game against Finland.

“It is a shame that it was decided that way,” said Hjulmand. “I have been reading the international press – it was a penalty that should not have been given, so that is something that annoys me right now. So yes, we are disappointed, very disappointed.

“But then there is the other part of me right now. I cannot describe with words how proud we are of these players. They have been through so much. We have two people from the staff who saved one of our best players’ lives. We have been fighting like crazy. We have been playing good football.

“And I am grateful for Denmark, the entire nation. We needed the support, we needed the empathy when that happened with Christian. We have been receiving a lot of love and a lot of support, it was amazing to feel.”

Hjulmand believes Denmark are growing as a team – they have already gained maximum points from their first three World Cup qualifiers and will play Scotland in their next competitive fixture in Copenhagen at the start of September.

“We just have to digest this but we will attack again, of course,” he said. “Once we get over this, we have an amazing group. We can definitely do something great again. It feels bitter just now.”

Asked if this had been a once-in-a-lifetime chance to earn more glory for Denmark, Hjulmand insisted he did not necessarily view it like that. “You never know,” he said. “A lot of things can happen. The knockout games were very equal. I think we can do it again. I have a sensation we can do even better.

“When we meet again in September we are going to reflect on this. England were in the semi-finals last time and they are here again. I feel as if we can do as well again but you never know. A lot of things can happen in knockout games. And I believe better things are ahead for this team.”

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