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full circle Emotional scenes in Copehagen as Denmark team form symbolic circle of celebration

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Denmark's team celebrates their victory after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Russia and Denmark at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, June 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Hannah McKay, Pool)

Denmark's team celebrates their victory after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Russia and Denmark at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, June 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Hannah McKay, Pool)

Denmark's team celebrates their victory after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Russia and Denmark at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, June 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Hannah McKay, Pool)

Just nine days ago after the Denmark players formed a circle around their stricken talisman Christian Eriksen after he suffered a cardiac arrest at Parken Stadium, the same venue witnessed a very different scene on Tuesday night.

Led by their Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, Denmark's smiling players were in joyous mood as their 4-1 win against Russia secured their passage to the last-16 of Euro 2020.

The symbolism of the moment as the Danish players formed their circle after the final whistle of a game played before an emotional and raucous sell-out crowd pulled at every heart string, with Eriksen doubtless looking on at home as he continues his recovery.

Denmark will now face Wales in the Euro 2020 last 16 after clinching second place in Group B, after they took 38th minute through a stunning Mikkel Damsgaard strike and Yussuf Poulsen doubled the advantage just before the hour mark as he punished a mistake by Roman Zobnin.

Russia replied with Artem Dzyuba’s 70th-minute penalty before strikes from Andreas Christensen in the 79th minute and Joakim Maehle three minutes later wrapped up victory in front of a delirious crowd at the Parken Stadium.

The result, combined with Belgium’s 2-0 win over Finland, sees Kasper Hjulmand’s Denmark through to take on Wales in Amsterdam on Saturday as Group B runners-up, while Stanislav Cherchesov’s Russia, having started the match lying second in the pool, are out having ended up bottom.

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 Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand celebrates after the match Pool via REUTERS/Hannah Mckay     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand celebrates after the match Pool via REUTERS/Hannah Mckay TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand celebrates after the match Pool via REUTERS/Hannah Mckay TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

"If anyone deserves this, it’s our players," said Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand.

"I can't imagine how they managed to come back from what they went through. So big credit to the boys.

"The Denmark fans have looked after us this last week. They have given us wings. Without all of you this would not have been possible.

"I had really been hoping that we were going to get a magical night today. It would have been so incredibly unfair if we hadn't got something after this game. And I have to say that these players have played their way straight into the hearts of the Danes."

Denmark midfielder Christian Nørgaard spoke emotionally after the game, as he admitted the win was dedicated to Eriksen.

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Denmark players celebrate after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Russia and Denmark at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, June 21, 2021. Denmark won 4-1. (Stuart Franklin/Pool via AP)

Denmark players celebrate after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Russia and Denmark at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, June 21, 2021. Denmark won 4-1. (Stuart Franklin/Pool via AP)

Denmark players celebrate after the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Russia and Denmark at the Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, June 21, 2021. Denmark won 4-1. (Stuart Franklin/Pool via AP)

"There is no doubt that this win was for Christian," he said.

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"We have gone through so much in the time we have been together and it was no doubt in our mind that this was not going to be the final chapter.

"That it all culminated like it did was written in the stars. We go into the next game with a huge feeling that we can win it.”

It was a remarkable turnaround for Denmark in their emotional campaign at the tournament, having lost their first two matches, at the same venue, after the shock of midfielder Eriksen’s collapse in their Euro 2020 opener against Finland.

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