Russia v Denmark: Dzyuba the biggest threat to Hjulmand's profligate side

By Sports Desk June 20, 2021

Denmark will have to show more quality in front of goal in Monday's Euro 2020 clash with Russia if they are to have any hope of progressing from Group B.

Kasper Hjulmand's side have scored from just one of their 43 shots in this year's tournament, while their opponents have had seven shots against them and scored three times.

After losing 1-0 to Finland – a game overshadowed by the cardiac arrest suffered by Christian Eriksen – and 2-1 to Belgium, Denmark are now in the last chance saloon.

They can finish second if they beat Russia and Finland lose to Belgium, depending on the goals scored in those two matches, while only a win will do for third place.

Following positive updates on the health of Eriksen, who has been discharged from hospital, Hjulmand's focus for now is on getting three points against Russia in Copenhagen.

"No matter what, we shall go out there and try to win the match," he said. "It's going to be an unbelievably hard match against Russia.

"They are coming to Parken with a result they can use for something. We shouldn't force anything. We have to keep a level head."

Russia put their 3-0 loss to Belgium behind them with a 1-0 win over Finland last time out and will advance to the last 16 with a victory on Monday, while a draw may be enough.

The visitors have had a day's extra rest than Denmark, but head coach Stanislav Cherchesov insists there will be more to the game than fitness alone.

"That can be important at major tournaments, but not necessarily vital," Cherchesov said. "What will be vital is the tactics, the team, our approach. 

"I have no doubt that we will play at our best level. Our task is to do our job well and get the result."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Russia – Artem Dzyuba

Zenit forward Dzyuba exchanged passes with Aleksey Miranchuk for Russia's winner against Finland – albeit for a goal that was all about the quality of his team-mate's finish – to make it 22 goal involvements in his last 21 international appearances.

That includes 14 goals, the most recent of those coming in March's World Cup qualifying win over Slovenia. Dzyuba has showed that there is more to his game than scoring goals, and Russia will need their captain to be on top of his game on Monday. 

Denmark – Martin Braithwaite

Barcelona forward Braithwaite had seven of his side's 21 shots against Belgium without finding the net – the most by a Denmark player in a Euros match since Preben Elkjaer Larsen had 10 against Spain at Euro 1984.

He found himself in some promising positions in that loss to the world's top-ranked side, and was desperately unlucky not to score from a late header that hit the crossbar, but Denmark could do with one of Braithwaite's efforts ending in the opposition net.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– Since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia and Denmark have only met once, in a friendly at Copenhagen's Parken Stadium in February 2012. Russia won 2-0.

– Russia kept a clean sheet last time out against Finland. They had conceded in 16 of their previous 17 major tournament games (Euros and World Cup), since keeping consecutive shutouts against Greece and Sweden at Euro 2008.

– Denmark have suffered defeat in each of their two group stage games at Euro 2020. They have twice previously lost all three of their group games in a European Championships tournament, doing so at Euro 1988 and Euro 2000.

– Russia are looking to record back-to-back wins at the European Championship for the first time since winning three in a row at Euro 2008, the first two wins of which were their final two group games.

– Yussuf Poulsen scored Denmark's goal in their 2-1 defeat to Belgium. Poulsen has only scored in consecutive appearances once for his national side, doing so in June 2018 against Mexico in a friendly and Peru at the World Cup.

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