DENMARK TOPS CROATIA 1-0
The Danish national side got off to an excellent start in the European Championship as they defeated Croatia at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille by a score of 1-0, and despite a close scoreline, the Danes demonstrated why they are ranked 6th in the world.
From the very start, Giuseppe Bergomi's youthful triad of Christian Eriksen, Viktor Fischer, and Lucas Andersen shone through and caused the Croatian defense all sorts of problems. The tricky feet of the three starlets often were kicked and hacked as the Croats racked up their foul count.
Goalkeeper Ivan Kelava, however, was up to the task, and made two good stops in the first half against a curling strike from Andersen and a fizzed long range shot from the captian, Kvist. It was Christian Eriksen, however, that broke the deadlock 24 minutes in.
Jakob Ahlmann, making only his second appearance for the senior side, made a lung busting run down the left side and was slipped in by Viktor Fischer. The Kobenhaven left back slid the ball across the six for Eriksen to tap home passed to helpless Kelava.
The Danes continued to control the game and Mandzukic and Eduardo hardly bothered Bjelland and Kjaer at the back. Things got ugly toward the end, however, as Manuel Pamic was sent off in injury time for an ugly challenge on Jakob Ahlmann, who was stretchered off and will miss 4 weeks with a twisted knee.
"It was a good way to kick things off," said goal scorer and Real Madrid star Christian Eriksen. "It was nice to score, but what's far more important is that we played so well and got 3 points. It's a blow to lose Jakob [Ahlmann] as he's been excellent but there are definitely other players who cant step up to the plate."
Ireland drew Ukraine 1-1 in the other Group D matchup, allowing Denmark to take the early group lead. The full Group D table is as follows: