Euro2020: Bitter Danish media rage over defeat to England


Danish media have hit out at refereeing decisions and ‘cowardly tricks’ that they believe cost them a place in the Euros final on Sunday – while telling readers they are still ‘lucky’ to live in Denmark because of the UK’s Covid death toll.

‘There was no penalty’ ran a headline in one of the country’s biggest newspapers Berlingske, referring to the extra-time spot-kick that was won by Sterling and (eventually) converted by Kane that proved to be the deciding moment. 

Meanwhile tabloid Ekstra Bladet attacked the ‘disgusting and cowardly trick’ by an England fan who shone a laser at Kasper Schmeichel as Kane lined up his shot.

And, in one particularly scathing dispatch from street parties in London, journalist Poul Hoi attacked Britain’s ‘poor’ leadership and Covid death toll as evidence that readers are ‘lucky’ to live in Denmark – football result aside.

‘Let the English party,’ he wrote bluntly. ‘They have nothing else.’ 

In one incredibly bitter take on last night’s football result, one Danish newspaper insisted readers were lucky not to live in the UK because of its ‘poor’ leadership and Covid deaths

Newspaper B.T. shared fan reaction to the match, including plenty of fury directed at Dutch referee Danny Makkelie who awarded an injury-time penalty to England

Newspaper B.T. shared fan reaction to the match, including plenty of fury directed at Dutch referee Danny Makkelie who awarded an injury-time penalty to England

Berlingske also dedicated an entire article to arguing that Sterling's penalty should not have been given, saying Denmark were robbed of victory

Berlingske also dedicated an entire article to arguing that Sterling’s penalty should not have been given, saying Denmark were robbed of victory

Describing scenes of drunken jubilation in the British capital following the win, he added: ‘It is no coincidence that the third wave began in the British Isles and that it is so much more dramatic than elsewhere. 

‘Nor is it God’s random punishment that the country has the most corona deaths in Europe. It could have been avoided… but it was not avoided because the leadership is too “poor.”

‘And the corona fad is not an exception, but characteristic of a country that is so convinced of its exceptionalism that it even thinks itself exempt from a pandemic.’

He concluded ‘Let them party… And instead rejoice that you have woken up in Denmark today.’

Denmark had been hoping to make it to their second Euros final on Wednesday, having reached it once before in 1992 when they beat Germany to claim the title.

Meanwhile England were looking to make history by reaching the final for the first time ever, with an enticing clash with Italy and Wembley awaiting them.

Denmark scored first – a free kick by 21-year-old Mikkel Damsgaard bulging England’s net for the first time this tournament – before an own goal by captain Simon Kjaer levelled things up before the half.

England dominated the second half as Denmark dug in defence, repelling wave after wave of attacks until Sterling was brought down in the box in the first half of extra time and referee Danny Makkelie pointed to the spot.

The decision – backed up on review by VAR – made him an instant villain in Denmark, with many column inches dedicated to picking apart the call.

B.T. front page

Politiken front page

Many newspapers ignored England’s performance altogether, and instead gushed with praise for their side. Left, a headline reading ‘thanks, boys!’ and right, one which reads ‘thanks for a fairy-tale Danish Euros’

Plenty of column inches were also dedicated to the English fan who tried to blind Schmeichel with a laser, calling it a 'cowardly trick'

Plenty of column inches were also dedicated to the English fan who tried to blind Schmeichel with a laser, calling it a ‘cowardly trick’

Newspaper Jyllands-Posten struck an upbeat tone, telling fans they should be proud of the team while looking forward to a 'golden future'

Newspaper Jyllands-Posten struck an upbeat tone, telling fans they should be proud of the team while looking forward to a ‘golden future’

‘The dream and hope were ruined in a split second by a wrong call from the Dutch judge,’ Ekstra Bladet wrote.

‘What the hell is this?’ read another headline in B.T., quoting furious Danish fans on social media who demanded a rematch and branded the referee ‘a f***ing disgrace.’

But, in large part, the newspapers ignored England’s performance altogether to praise the national side and look ahead excitedly to the future.

‘Thank you boys,’ read the headline on newspaper B.T. 

‘Thank you for a fairy-tale Danish Euros’ Politiken said from its front page, while describing ‘a beautiful Danish defeat’ in its centre pages.

Writing in Ekstra Bladet, former Danish national football coach Åge Hareide praised a team which he said has its brightest days ahead.

‘It has been an incredibly beautiful journey for Denmark and for the boys. You should be proud of their performance throughout,’ he wrote.

There were scenes of desperation in Copenhagen as Denmark fans gathered to watch their country's heroic Euro 2020 journey come to an end at the hands of England

There were scenes of desperation in Copenhagen as Denmark fans gathered to watch their country’s heroic Euro 2020 journey come to an end at the hands of England

The high spirits and scenes of jubilation after Denmark opened the scoring were dampened when England levelled the score through an own goal before eventually taking the lead

The high spirits and scenes of jubilation after Denmark opened the scoring were dampened when England levelled the score through an own goal before eventually taking the lead

Happiness turned to heartache for Danish fans who watched their team go from 1-0 up in the first half to 2-1 down by the end of extra time as they were knocked out of the Euros

Happiness turned to heartache for Danish fans who watched their team go from 1-0 up in the first half to 2-1 down by the end of extra time as they were knocked out of the Euros

Danish fans watch on in agony as their defence absorbs multiple waves of English attack, before the referee grants a penalty

Danish fans watch on in agony as their defence absorbs multiple waves of English attack, before the referee grants a penalty

A Danish fan hides his pain behind his hands as he watches in Copenhagen after his team were dumped out of the Euros

A Danish fan hides his pain behind his hands as he watches in Copenhagen after his team were dumped out of the Euros

‘Denmark has many young players who can become really good in the years to come. Maybe you do not feel that way right now, but I can assure you that the sun is shining. The sky is really blue for Danish football.’

Newspaper Jyllands-Posten struck a similar tone, with their lead article saying: ‘The disappointment is great [but] there is also reason to be optimistic.

‘The development in the Danish game and a new energy-creating connection between the Danish players and fans gives national coach Kasper Hjulmand faith in a bright future for the national team.’

Meanwhile columnist Thomas Moller Kristensen added: ‘We must not feel sorry for ourselves, we must be proud.

‘Let the national team be embittered over the semifinal defeat. The rest of us just have to be grateful for the experiences – and for the prospect of a golden future.’

But Danish media were not the only ones reacting to last night’s game – Italian newspapers were also watching closely, sizing up their opponents for the final.

The verdict was largely damning, as back pages attacked the English as ‘bores’ on the pitch while saying they relied on the referee for the win.

In the popular Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, Thursday’s headline makes a gag about the Italian for a custard pudding which roughly translates as ‘English bore’.

Below, they wrote: ‘Southgate needs the help of the referee to reach the final against Italy.’

Another major Italian paper, Gazzetto dello Sport, proudly declared, ‘Let’s take the crown’, adding that Denmark ‘frightened’ England.

Meanwhile beIN Sports correspondent Tancredi Palmeri tweeted in reference to the popular Three Lions song: ‘It’s diving home’.

In the popular Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, Thursday's headline makes a gag about the Italian for a custard pudding which roughly translates as 'English bore'

In the popular Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport, Thursday’s headline makes a gag about the Italian for a custard pudding which roughly translates as ‘English bore’ 

Gazzetto dello Sport proudly declared, 'Let's take the crown', adding that Denmark 'frightened' England

Gazzetto dello Sport proudly declared, ‘Let’s take the crown’, adding that Denmark ‘frightened’ England

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