Denmark’s remarkable Euro 2020 campaign ended in a 2-1 semi-final loss to England on Wednesday, completing a journey which started when midfielder Christian Eriksen suffered a heart attack before the team embarked on a thrilling run to the last four.
An own goal from Simon Kjaer cancelled out Mikkel Damsgaard’s opener for Denmark and after the game had finished 1-1 in normal time, England were awarded a penalty in extra time. Harry Kane’s spot-kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, but the England striker scored from the rebound.
“We’re very, very disappointed, and it’s hard for me to talk about. Maybe it will easier for me to say how I feel in a few days,” Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand told a news conference, unable to hide his frustration at the penalty decision.
“We’re just very disappointed that we were so close to the final. We’re disappointed it was decided that way … it was a penalty that shouldn’t have been a penalty, and that annoys me right now. We’re disappointed, we’re very disappointed.
“It’s one thing to lose a game, that happens, but losing this way is just a disappointment, because these guys have fought a lot. It’s bitter, I think we have to digest this before we can describe these feelings, but it’s a bitter way to leave a tournament,” Hjulmand added.
Captain Kjaer’s own goal did not stop him leaving the pitch with his head held high after an extraordinary campaign by Denmark.
“It’s been a great journey and I’m sorry it’s over now. I think when we get some distance, there are things that will come up. It has been hard to take in, but a great journey. I’m sorry we did not make it all the way to the final,” he told broadcaster DR.
Hjulmand thanked the people of Denmark once again for their support.
“I’m grateful for Denmark, the entire nation. We needed the support, the empathy when that happened with Christian. We’ve been receiving a lot of love, a lot of support and that was amazing to feel,” he said.
“Our future is full of hope and belief, these guys are outstanding and the whole nation can be proud. Keep giving them the love and the respect they deserve … we can be incredibly proud,” Hjulmand said.