Jannik Vestergaard’s Denmark enjoyed a magical night in Copenhagen as a rollercoaster evening saw them claim second spot in Group B and a place in the Last 16 at EURO 2020.
With one of three teams able to claim the second qualification spot behind group leaders Belgium heading into the night’s action, the Danes took matters into their own hands at Parken Stadium.
Anchored by the Saints defender who started once again as part of a back three, Denmark showed early intensity against a Russian side that looked happy to soak up spells of pressure, a tactic that paid off until the 38th minute.
With chances at a premium for both sides, a moment of sheer brilliance broke the deadlock and cued scenes of elation in Copenhagen.
Collecting the ball on the edge of the box, Mikkel Damsgaard took a touch before unleashing a dipping effort that left goalkeeper Matvei Safonov rooted to the spot as it hit the back of the net.
With Belgium and Finland goalless at the halfway stage it was looking as though Vestergaard and his teammates would have to hope to qualify as one of the four best third-placed teams, before a frantic chain of events created a party atmosphere in Copenhagen.
Gifted a second of the night when Daler Kuzyaev’s reckless back pass found Yuussuf Poulsen who couldn’t miss from close range, only a disallowed Belgium goal in the other match denied the Danes a place in second.
However, a rare blip on the night from Vestergaard saw a penalty awarded to Russia, which Artem Dzyuba dispatched to cause yet more Group B uncertainty.
It was short-lived, however, as a superb long-range effort from Andreas Christensen simultaneously slammed into the back of the net at the same time as Belgium took the lead against Finland, moving Denmark into second for the first time on the night.
The style was turned on in the closing stages as Joakim Mæhle made it 4-1 as Denmark extended their stay at EURO 2020.