Denmark and Spain to battle it out for right to face England hosts

Denmark and Spain will battle it out for the right to face hosts England in the Euro 2022 quarter-finals on Saturday.

The Group B rivals meet at the Brentford Community Stadium with the Spaniards needing to draw to clinch runners-up spot behind Germany, who already know they will meet Austria in the last eight, while the Danes have to win to progress.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what lies ahead as the tournament approaches the knockout stage.

The ‘final’ countdown

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Spain boss Jorge Vilda has ordered his players to leave nothing to chance as they attempt to book a showdown with England.

A point against Denmark will be enough to ensure they finish second in Group B, but Vilda is acutely aware of the dangers of playing for a draw in a game he has characterised as a “final”.

He said at his pre-match press conference: “If you go out to draw or speculate with the result, it can turn out badly. Tomorrow is a final we want to win. It is the only objective.”

D-Day for the Danes

Denmark coach Lars Sondergaard has urged his team not to be satisfied with what they have already achieved as they prepare for their do-or-die clash with Spain.

The fact that the Danes are still very much in the running as the group stage draws to a close is in itself an achievement, but Sondergaard is not ready for the adventure to end just yet.

Speaking at his press conference, he said: “We’re very satisfied that we’ve come so far and that we can play a decider in the final group game. But of course we would like to go one step further.”

Grandstand Finnish

Only pride will be at stake when Group B winners Germany face pointless Finland at Stadium MK.

The Germans will meet the Austrians on Thursday for a place in the semi-finals after victories over Denmark and Spain in their opening two fixtures, but will be in no mood to relax as they attempt to maintain momentum.

By contrast, the Finns will be heading home regardless of the results and will be desperate to sign off with something tangible to show for their efforts.

Coach Anna Signeul said: “We want to finish off with something great here in Milton Keynes.”

A-OK for England and Austria

England maintained their 100 per cent record at the top of Group A with a 5-0 victory over Northern Ireland on Friday evening despite head coach Sarina Wiegman’s absence following a positive Covid-19 test.

The game was goalless until four minutes before the break, but it was 4-0 within eight minutes of the restart thanks to goals from Fran Kirby and Beth Mead and substitute Alessia Russo’s double before defender Kelsie Borrows unwittingly stabbed into her own net with 14 minutes remaining.

Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels said afterwards: “It would be a massive failure if England don’t win this tournament. Everybody else should just go home.”

Austria will join the Lionesses in the last eight after a deserved 1-0 win over twice winners Norway thanks to Nicole Billa’s first-half header at the AMEX Stadium.

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I have told the players that this is the game of the year – but hopefully there will be another game of the year in a few days’ time

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July 16

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Group B: Finland v Germany (8pm, Stadium MK)

Group B: Denmark v Spain (8pm, Brentford Community Stadium)

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