Slovenia upset the form book with Denmark draw

June 16 – Slovenia persevered for a thrilling draw in Stuttgart, as the underdogs held Denmark to a 1-1 scoreline to rattle Group C from the off.

The result marked the first major upset of the tournament so far. Featuring at the European Championships for the first time in 24 years, Slovenia qualified second in their group behind the Danes, who beat them twice.

Playing with aggression and intent, Slovenia had their share of chances but failed to take them early on.

It took 77 minutes to find their feet, where fullback Erik Janza thrashed in an unlikely equaliser – shattering the Slovenians’ curse versus Danish opposition.

Slovenia’s Andraz Sporar shoots

Despite the disappointing result, Christian Eriksen impressed on his first Euros game since the events in 2021, which saw the player’s tournament end early due to a heart-related incident on the pitch. He returned to action as the pride of the team, pulling the strings from midfield as he adopted an attacking role usually occupied by Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United.

Fellow Red Devil Rasmus Hojlund also started up front for the Danes, but faced a disappointing Euros debut after coming up blank.

He lined up beside Wolfsburg’s Jonas Wind, who himself marked his first start for Denmark since they beat Slovenia back in November.

Hjulmand’s selection did pay off though. as the 25-year-old pulled off a superb piece of skill to set up Eriksen for Denmark’s goal.

Kasper Hjelmund opened with an identical setup to the team that beat Sweden ahead of the tournament, with a 3-4-1-2 shape that looked to take advantage of a strike partnership lead by Hojlund, and all the pace and strength that comes with him.

 

Meanwhile, Slovenia manager Matjaz Kek deployed his trademark 4-4-2 which was seen all the way through qualifying, aimed at providing strong defensive cover whilst allowing duo Benjamin Sesko and Andraz Sporar to stay forward and press.

The Danes opened with impressive attacking play, moving the ball comfortably with their composure showing early on.

Benjamin Sesko came close to goal in the first ten minutes. He’ll be looking to leave a mark on this tournament with his name being floated around for a big summer move.

Christian Eriksen opened the scoring in the 17th minute, coolly finishing into the bottom left following a clever back heel flick from Wind.

It marked a perfect opening for Denmark, who looked cool as anything, Eriksen looked like a different player for his national team with a strong and encouraging showing.

Slovenia escaped a calamitous own goal after Eriksen’s driven pass ricocheted off the defenders in pin-ball fashion. A hapless Jan Oblak watched on as the ball trickled past the post, and probably breathed a massive sigh of relief.

The Slovenians looked to level the score by firing long balls into the attacking area, as strike partnership Benjamin Sesko and Andraz Sporar made darting runs in behind but were unable to find the right touch to fashion a chance.

As the game wore on, Eriksen continued to cause headaches for the Slovenian defence with a collection of crosses and fizzing passes. Slovenia were lucky to escape the half with only a one-goal deficit.

Denmark pushed to kill the game off as quickly as possible but couldn’t find the finishing touch

On 75 minutes Slovenia bit back, as young a star Sesko rattled the post with a thumping effort from long range.

Seconds later, Slovenia tied the game in the 77th minute courtesy of a thumping effort from left fullback Erik Janza. Against the run of play, the ball hit the back of the net after a nasty deflection from Joachim Andersen, to the visible disappointment of Kasper Schmeichel.

The result is good news for fellow Group C sides England and Serbia

Denmark return to Euros action against England in four days, and face a tough challenge to get their campaign back on track.

Meanwhile, Slovenia will be hoping to continue their streak of form against Serbia.

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