Danish football is in a state of anger and woe following the untimely exit of the under-21 side in the 2019 Euros in Trieste, Italy last night.
The Danes needed to beat Serbia by at least 3-0 in Group B to remain in semi-final contention as the best second-placed team, and Niels Frederiksen’s lads came out strong, taking the lead after 20 minutes through Jacob Bruun Larsen.
The Danes were bathing in chances but couldn’t get a second until Jacob Rasmussen smashed home a corner after 50 minutes, giving fans real hope that the youngsters could reach the required 3-0 margin.
And then disaster struck.
The referee from Belarus ruled out a goal by Phillip Billing just minutes later due to offside, but despite a VAR check confirming that the goal was legitimate, the ref’s decision to blow his whistle a half-second before the ball crossed the goal line meant that he had no choice but to uphold the decision to disallow the goal.
Didn’t take their chances
The Danes tried to shake off their disappointment and pushed for ‘another’ third goal, but massive chances were squandered up until the final seconds of the game.
To make matters worse, the referee somehow also managed to miss a clear red card for Serbia with about five minutes remaining on the clock in what was a feeble ref performance to say the least. Time management was also an issue.
But, at the end of the day, the Danes were just as much to blame due to their inefficiency in front of goal and leave Italy with wins against Austria and Serbia and a defeat to Germany.
The result also means Denmark won’t take place in the 2020 Olympics, as qualification was dependent on reaching the semis.
New team, new coach
The Italian hosts are currently the best second-placed team, although a draw between France and Romania tonight will see the Italians knocked out … a potential scenario closely resembling the one inflicted on the Italians by Denmark and Sweden at Euro 2004.
The Danes faces a considerable rebuild ahead of the qualifiers for Euro 2021 – their Group 8 includes Romania, Ukraine, Finland, Northern Ireland and Malta.
A new coach will also need to be found with Frederiksen departing to take up the reins at Brøndby this summer. Former Bundesliga topscorer Thomas Christiansen has been mentioned as a possible candidate.