Kasper Dolberg had scored twice, Joakim Maehle was electrical and Mikkel Damsgaard sparkled as soon as once more, but when attempting to circle how Denmark have reached this level, one man transcends all: Kasper Hjulmand.
The supervisor that shouldn’t have even been in cost, along with his tenure on account of solely start after the conclusion of the initially scheduled Euro 2020, has guided his facet to the quarter-finals of the event after probably the most distressing begin.
There is no such thing as a teaching handbook or course that educates you on find out how to deal with a participant struggling cardiac arrest, quickly misplaced to the world earlier than being resuscitated on the pitch.
Nothing ready him for watching Christian Eriksen lie on the Parken turf helpless, his teammates drenched in tears and concern as they fashioned a protecting wall across the midfielder to protect him from cameras whereas he fought for his life.
How do you deal with such a harrowing state of affairs? How do you consolation and galvanise a gaggle in that context? How do you make sure that the emotion doesn’t engulf the staff, that it may in some way be channelled into drive?
“Kasper has been unimaginable in the way in which he has dealt with all of it, having deal with the truth that we will proceed to play soccer however that completely different folks had been elsewhere mentally,” defender Simon Kjaer defined to BT.
“On the identical time, he needed to cope with himself and what he was feeling. He has been a unbelievable coach and chief for the staff. I’m very grateful I’ve him as my coach.”
Maehle would supply the same reply: “He additionally confirmed his feeling after what occurred with Christian and that he wanted assist too. What we’ve got been by way of has simply introduced us nearer collectively. He is an effective coach and now a pal for us too.”
Hjulmand dealt with the trauma of the Eriksen scare with dignity, providing a human contact to his gamers but in addition offering them with soccer readability.
Their first half efficiency in opposition to Belgium stays one of many prime stanzas within the showpiece for power and offensive relentlessness. To lose that match so emphatically – Kevin De Bruyne got here off the bench to make the distinction – after dominating it may have spelt the tip for Denmark.
But they dusted it off and swatted Russia 4-1 to safe a last-16 spot in opposition to Wales in Amsterdam.
On the Johan Cruijff Area, they had been distinctive.
The aggression in possession, the management of the sport, the tactical tweaks and the negating of Wales’ strengths powered Denmark by way of the quarter-finals with ease.
Hjulmand’s fingerprints stretch over this complete story, wherein he has managed to marry empathy with soccer intelligence to generate the utmost from his squad in a situation that might have marmalised them.
Forward of Saturday evening’s encounter, captain Kasper Schmeichel emphasised: “The gamers are rightly getting numerous reward however there’s one particular person we shouldn’t overlook and that’s Kasper Hjulmand.”
With each passing fixture, that will get bolded and underlined.