For many of us, a twenty first birthday is just a blur; an evening on which you get pleasure from your self (possibly a bit of an excessive amount of). An evening that the subsequent morning makes you pay for – in a merciless and painful manner.
However Mikkel Damsgaard is just not such as you or I. He’ll at all times keep in mind the evening he turned 21. He was enjoying in a Euro 2020 quarter-final for Denmark in opposition to Czech Republic, and subsequently celebrating (in a accountable method) his nation’s passage into the match’s closing 4.
Denmark’s extraordinary summer season continued on Saturday night, as they beat the Czechs 2-1. One other spirited, resolute and dedicated efficiency was testomony to how close-knit and robust a bunch of gamers they’re.
Following Christian Eriksen’s on-pitch cardiac arrest, nobody would have imagined that we might be watching Denmark compete at Wembley within the semi-finals of the competitors. However right here they’re. And, following the enforced absence of their talisman, there has needed to be a brand new creator, a brand new spark and a brand new torch-carrier all through the match.
That man is Damsgaard. He confirmed it as soon as extra in Denmark’s quarter-final triumph.
He did not rating, he did not help, however he’s visibly getting extra assured with each passing minute of soccer and is more and more turning into pivotal to his nation’s attacking play.
All through the primary interval, the Sampdoria man picked up pockets of area, stretching the pitch and pulling both opposition midfielders or defenders out of place, permitting room for others to occupy. It was basic, clever off-the-ball play.
Tomas Soucek and Tomas Holes merely did not display screen the again 4 with Damsgaard’s elusive motion. It allowed the likes of Martin Braithwaite, Thomas Delaney, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and even Kasper Dolberg to come back into these freed-up areas and set strikes in movement.
The 21-year outdated was key in offering an outlet when he was left alone on the prime of the pitch, too. Within the absence of his two entrance line colleagues, Damsgaard by no means picked a misjudged run. His motion in behind the Czech again line was thought-about, timed completely and efficient – twice forcing goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik into key saves.
He’s evidently turning into extra comfy fulfilling important roles for the aspect and, with each sport, his group mates appear to belief him increasingly more. Passes would particularly be performed into him when he dropped off markers, heads would shoot up in the hunt for that quantity 14 and the wing-backs would bust a lung to surge upfield as he turned his defender – as a result of they knew he’d discover them in area.
It is a artistic aspect of him that we have seen time and time once more over these European Championships and, in opposition to Czech Republic, Damsgaard demonstrated his collective perspective and work price as effectively.
Following Patrik Schick’s early second half strike to make the rating 2-1, Denmark have been confronted with a problematic state of affairs. However as we have seen earlier than. their group spirit and can to win is virtually unrivalled. Attackers have been dropping deep to certain up the midfield and Damsgaard, specifically, was always aware of filling in for his wing-back when area had been left unmarked.
The Danish star, by means of urgent and defensive conscience, ultimately racked up 4 ball recoveries – greater than his attacking group mates and greater than each wing-backs – earlier than being sacrificed on the hour mark for an additional defensive midfielder.
It was an all-round efficiency befitting of a talisman. With each passing spherical of matches, Damsgaard is turning into more and more spectacular and is visibly thriving in his function because the shining gentle in a Denmark aspect that might actually produce one thing magical at Euro 2020.