London (AFP) – Denmark host Russia at Euro 2020 on Monday seeking to snatch a place in the last 16 as coronavirus further disrupted the tournament, costing Scotland the services of breakout star Billy Gilmour.
Elsewhere, Austria and Ukraine go head-to-head in Bucharest for a place in the knockout phase, with the Netherlands already assured of qualification from Group C.
Denmark’s opening 1-0 loss to Finland in Group B was overshadowed by Christian Eriksen’s mid-match collapse due to a cardiac arrest and they were defeated by Belgium in an emotional game during which fans and players showed their support for the midfielder.
But the 1992 European champions could snatch a top-two finish if they beat Russia and already-qualified Belgium win against Finland, with a crowd of up to 25,000 cheering them on in Copenhagen.
“We’re prepared to run out at the Parken and have a magical night… it’s like our Euro is starting right now,” said Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand.
“We’re not done. We had a difficult start and we’re going to start over now. We’re ready to get through the group and play more games.”
A win by two goals or more would be enough if Finland lose, as would any one-goal success other than 1-0.
“It would mean a lot… after everything that we’ve been through I think we deserve it,” said captain Simon Kjaer.
Inter Milan player Eriksen has left hospital after a successful operation to have a heart defibrillator fitted.
But Russia will be out to spoil the home team’s day, knowing just a point would be enough to finish second if Belgium win.
Roberto Martinez’s Belgians, the world’s top-ranked team, are not yet guaranteed a top-two finish, but a draw would see them through as group winners.
Ukraine, managed by Andriy Shevchenko, are just a point away from making the knockout stage for the first time after group exits in 2012 and 2016.
But Austria — who had never won a European Championship match until they beat North Macedonia in their opener — will be desperate to make their mark.
Even a point would likely be enough to secure a last-16 spot as one of the four best third-placed teams.
Coach Franco Foda has confirmed that Marko Arnautovic will make his first start of Euro 2020 after serving a one-match ban for insulting Macedonian players while celebrating scoring as a substitute.
The victors will face Group A winners Italy at Wembley in the next round.
The other game in Group C is a dead rubber between the Netherlands, who are assured of top spot, and already-eliminated North Macedonia.
– Scotland’s Gilmour tests positive –
The Scottish Football Association announced on Monday that Chelsea midfielder Gilmour had tested positive for Covid-19, dealing a huge blow to Scotland’s hopes of making it beyond the group stages of a major tournament for the first time.
Gilmour picked up the man-of-the-match award in Friday’s 0-0 draw against England at Wembley in his first international start.
But the 20-year-old will miss Tuesday’s clash against Croatia at Hampden with Scotland needing to win to have any chance of progressing to the last 16.
“The Scottish FA can confirm that a member of the Scotland national team playing squad, Billy Gilmour, has tested positive for Covid-19,” the Scottish FA said in a statement.
Spain captain Sergio Busquets was forced to self-isolate after a positive test earlier this month while Slovakia and Sweden have also been hit by positive tests.
World champions France have lost Ousmane Dembele for the rest of Euro 2020 after X-rays showed the Barcelona winger’s knee injury would not heal in time.
Dembele, 24, was hurt in the closing minutes of the 1-1 draw against Hungary in Budapest on Saturday
On Sunday, Wales celebrated reaching the last 16 despite losing 1-0 to Italy in Rome. Switzerland were left to wait before finding out if they will join them following their 3-1 win against Turkey.
Wales, semi-finalists at Euro 2016, will play a last-16 tie in Amsterdam next Saturday against the runners-up from Group B.
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