Denmark are at least as strong as Russia, if not better but the former has had non-football related issues during the tournament. Nothing has been the same for Denmark after Christian Eriksen’s collapse against Finland. They not only went on to lose the match against Finland, but were also unlucky to go empty handed after a brilliant display against Belgium.
Denmark are currently at the bottom of a group they should have finished 2nd in. They dominated Belgium for the majority of the game, but Kevin de Bruyne’s class handed Belgium the three points. Denmark are yet to earn a single point this tournament and only a win against Russia will do for them.
“It’s like our Euros are starting right now,” coach Kasper Hjulmand said on Sunday ahead of the game at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen where fans have stayed passionately behind the team during narrow defeats to Finland and Belgium.
“We’re prepared to run out at Parken tomorrow and have a magical night,” the 49-year-old manager told a news conference.
“It’s a little surreal that we have no points, but we’re focused on the game against Russia and we know that with a win we can get out of the group phase.
“We respect Russia, it’s going to be a tough game and we need the support we had last time (against Belgium).”
While Belgium are table toppers with 6 points, both Russia and Finland are on 3 points each. Russia are currently ahead of Finland due to their head-to-head record, but they also have a poor goal difference of minus 2. Denmark also have the same goal difference but a win for them against Russia on Monday will take them above Russia. Belgium are expected to defeat Finland which means their 0-goal difference should take a hit as well.
Hailed as a hero for his quick action and leadership after Eriksen collapsed, Denmark captain Simon Kjaer said the team deserved success.
“We go into the game with the mentality that we have to get there (to the knockout stage), and after everything we’ve been through, I think we deserve it,” the central defender said.