Sport Round-Up: Finland win sets up ‘do-or-die’ game against Spain for women’s national team

Come 21:00 on Saturday, half the nation will anxiously be glued to the set

Following a stuttering season at Chelsea plagued by injury and time on the bench, Pernille Harder, 29, who has been one of the world’s best players for half a decade, might be coming to the boil at the right moment. 

Her 72nd minute header was the difference between the teams as Denmark beat Finland 1-0 to keep alive their hopes of making the quarter-finals of Euro 2022 in England. 

Nevertheless, Denmark have keeper Lene Christensen to thank for a stunning injury time save to deny the Finns a last-minute equaliser. But on the balance of play – Sanne Troelsgaard missed an absolute sitter in the second half – Denmark deserved the win.

An uphill struggle all the way
Thanks to a thumping 0-4 loss to Germany in their opener, the knockout phase has started earlier than Denmark would have liked, and they now face Spain on Saturday in another do-or-die encounter. 

Anything but a win against the Spanish, who also beat the Finns and lost to the Germans but have a much better goal difference, will spell the end of their campaign. 

The bookmakers clearly expect Spain to advance, rating them 1/ 4 favourites, with the Red and Whites as long as 12/1 to win. 

Relying on the heroes of 2017
It seems a little strange given that Denmark have been in good form in recent years, qualifying for the 2023 World Cup with an unbeaten record. Furthermore, Spain’s best player, Alexia Putellas, the most recent Ballon D’or Feminin winner, is sidelined. 

Denmark will be looking to their key players from their run to the final of Euro 2017 (where they were also written off), Harder and forward Nadia Nadim, restored to the starting line-up against Finland, for inspiration.

Should they beat the Spanish in a game that kicks off at 21:00 CET, their reward will be a quarter-final against the hosts England, who embarrassed quietly-fancied Norway 8-0 in their last outing.

But who knows: after their slow-burner start, maybe Denmark will end up peaking at exactly the right time?

Magnus Cort bags Denmark’s first stage win of the 2022 Tour de France
Magnus Cort Nielsen secured Denmark’s first 2022 Tour de France stage victory yesterday after a thrilling finish in which he outsprinted Nick Schultz of Australia. A photo finish was needed to divide the pair. In total, 19 cyclists finished clear of the peloton – and eleven of those within a minute of Cort, who relatively close to the end was dropped from the leading pack, but somehow dug in and clawed his way back into contention. It rarely happens on the Grand Tours, but UAE Team Emirates overlooked the inclusion of Belgian cyclist Lennard Kämna in the breakaway until near the end, and he made up enough time to overtake Jonas Vingegaard in the standings to lie just 11 seconds behind race leader Tadej Pogačar in second. Meanwhile, Cort lies fourth in the King of the Mountains standings with 11 points, eight behind the leader, and fourth in the Green Jersey rankings with 129 points, a long way back. 

Danish team struck by corona ahead of World Athletics Championships
Many might be surprised to note that the World Athletics Championships – once a major quadrennial event when it started back in the 1980s, but increasingly overlooked as a biennial affair – are starting this Friday in the Oregon city of Eugene, where they will continue until July 24 (the men’s 100 metre final is late on Saturday night). Anyhow, Denmark’s team has most likely got one smaller following the news that discus thrower Lisa Brix Pedersen has got corona. 

Denmark sitting pretty after gold rush at World Games
After six days of competition, Denmark lies ninth in the medal table at the World Games in the Alabamba city of Birmingham with four golds and two silvers – an above average performance by the nation, which sits in 20th place on the all-time list. Denmark has so far won two golds in ten-pin bowling (men’s and women’s doubles), a gold in life-saving swimming, and a gold and two silvers in canoeing. The World Games, which caters to alternative sports, held its first edition in 1981. 

Mags on a roll after consecutive outings in the points
Kevin Magnussen finished eighth in the Austrian Grand Prix over the weekend following another good outing for Haas. With team-mate Mick Schumacher sixth, the race was the second in a row in which both Haas drivers finished in the points. Magnussen now sits 11th in the overall standings on 22 points, ten clear of Schumacher. 

Women to make their debut in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series this Saturday
Female divers will compete for the first time when the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returns to the Danish capital this Saturday – an annual fixture that sees huge crowds gather to watch the competitors fling themselves off the roof of the Copenhagen Opera House. While the men dive from a height of up to 27 metres, hitting the water at speeds of 85km/h, the women’s board is 21 metres from the water, mounted on the cantilever roof of the Opera House. The event is listed at starting at 13:30.

Dane is rank outsider at British Open
Nicolai Hojgaard is generally available at 250/1 to win the British Open, which commences at 08:00 EST at St Andrews in Scotland tomorrow. He is the only Dane competing.