Midfield engine Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg broke down in glorious, exhausted tears of joy at full-time after putting on a tireless shift to help Denmark beat the Czech Republic and reach the semifinals of Euro 2020.
Denmark’s inspirational run in the European Championship is set to continue even further, as they overcame the Czech Republic 2-1 in their quarter-final clash on Saturday.
First-half goals from Thomas Delaney and Kasper Dolberg were enough for the Danes to qualify for the semi-finals against the odds, as a second-half strike from Patrick Schick proved to be a mere consolation for the Czechs.
It seems like a long time since Christian Eriksen lay unconscious on the Copenhagen pitch in Denmark’s first group stage match, and even after two successive losses to begin their campaign–the Danes showed incredible team spirit to qualify to the semi-finals without their protagonist.
Even though their performances could be wholly credited to their collective prowess as a team, the man at the centre of their system deserves as much credit–central midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has been ever-present in the Danish team and has proved to be one of the most vital cogs in their well-oiled machine.
The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder is known for his leadership, immense interceptions and being a hard tackler at the centre of the pitch, but he has seemed to have added a creative dimension to his game at EURO 2020.
No other Danish player has created more chances than Hojbjerg (13), and no other Dane has more tournament assists (3)–it would not be an exaggeration to say that no other Dane was more overwhelmed when the referee blew the final whistle in their win over the Czechs.
It was pure ecstasy for the jubilant Denmark players when the final whistle was blown, but a tearful Hojbjerg simply collapsed to the ground–overwhelmed with emotion.
While the other Danes were piling up on top of each other after qualifying for the EURO 2020 semi-finals, their centrepiece broke down by himself and cut a solitary figure on the pitch while crying tears of unbridled joy.
Hojbjerg will have to keep his club team-mate Harry Kane quiet when Denmark meet England in three nights’ time, but with the form and the euphoria that both he and his team are in – nothing seems impossible for the indomitable Danes who just never give up.