It's a bitter way to leave the tournament: Kasper Hjulmand on England’s penalty

In the semifinal against Denmark, Raheem Sterling was awarded a contentious penalty and Harry Kane scored from his saved spot-kick to secure a 2-1 win.

Denmark players applaud the fans after exiting the tournament; Credit: [email protected]

Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand was “disappointed” with a contentious penalty being awarded for a foul on Raheem Sterling in the Euro 2020 semifinal defeat against England on Wednesday. Sterling went down under Joakim Maehle’s challenge in extra time of the semifinal. Harry Kane’s resulting spot-kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel, but the English skipper turned in the rebound to set up a Euro 2020 final date against Italy. The controversial call brought an end to a spirited Denmark’s Euro 2020 dream on Wednesday night. Hjulmand was unhappy that there was a second ball on the pitch during the time of the foul. But he was mainly frustrated with the awarding of the spot-kick.

“It was a penalty which should not have been a penalty. It is something which annoys me right now. We are very disappointed,” he added. “You cannot pass by the ball on the pitch which has so much influence on the game. I know it sounds weird right now but I cannot help having these feelings. One thing is to lose a game, it happens, but losing this way is disappointing because these guys have fought a lot.

“It feels bitter but we have to digest this before we can discuss these feelings. It’s a bitter way to leave the tournament. The way we lost makes it harder to understand why we lost. I have to be careful with what I say. We have an amazing group and we definitely can do something great again. Maybe it is easier for me to say how I feel in a few days.”

‘We needed the empathy’

Despite the defeat, Denmark’s journey at Euro 2020 has been nothing short of an inspiration. The Danish team overcame the shock of Christian Eriksen’s collapse in the opening match to reach the Euro 2020 semifinals. The Inter Milan midfielder is now out of the hospital.

Hjulmand went on to praise his staff and squad for the way they conducted themselves throughout the tournament. “I can’t describe how much I admire the technical staff behind these players, they have been through so much. We have two people from the staff who saved the life of one of our best players. We have been fighting like crazy and played good football and I am grateful for Denmark, the entire nation,” he added.

“We needed the empathy when that happened with Christian, we have been receiving a lot of love and support and it was amazing to feel. Unfortunately we did not get to the final but we will attack again and our future is full of hope and belief. These guys are outstanding and the whole nation can be proud, they are an amazing squad and they have done an amazing job. They have made Denmark proud.”

Hjulmand also congratulated his counterpart, Gareth Southgate, for guiding his team to their first major tournament final in 55 years. “I want to congratulate my colleague Gareth. I followed what the FA has done and how he works with the young players, gets involved and how he behaves with the values he has. How he represents and communicates is outstanding. Congratulations Gareth, you are doing a great job in a difficult job,” he added.

Sportslumo Desk

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