By Paul Jones
Ben Davies wants to make more mad memories in Amsterdam as he looks forward to Wales’ clash with Denmark in the last 16 round of Euro 2020.
The Danes booked their spot as Wales next’ opponents on Saturday with an emotional 4-1 victory over Russia in front of their vibrant fans in Copenhagen on Monday night – summoning every ounce of passion and motivation in the wake of Christian Eriksen’s collapse with a cardiac arrest in their opening fixture.
Denmark finished with only three points, but Belgium’s defeat of Finland meant the Danes clinched second place in their group on goal difference and they will now go to the Johan Cruyff Arena to battle Wales for a place in the quarter-finals.
It was there that Tottenham defender Davies was part of a Spurs side that fought back from 3-0 down on aggregate against Ajax to make the Champions League final in 2019 after a dramatic 96th minute equaliser from Lucas Moura.
“It was a pretty crazy night, that one,” said the former Swansea City left back.
“If we can do something similar again I will definitely take it. I would prefer it go a lot more smoothly for us than that game though. It looks like we have a decent chance next round.”
Davies was only used late on as a substitute in the 1-0 defeat to Italy on Sunday, in order to protect him from the threat of suspension after picking up a yellow card.
His calmness was missed as Wales came under heavy pressure, but he looks certain to start against the Danes where he will be keen to repeat his march into the late stages of the tournament with Wales back in 2016.
“After the last tournament there was maybe a bit more pressure on us, pressure we had put on ourselves to try and repeat what we did.
“Getting out of the group, I don’t think too many people gave us a chance before. It is an incredible achievement for us. Now we go again and the fun starts.
“I don’t think it was our best performance against Italy by any stretch, but that is football. Sometimes you have to grind results out.
“We played well against Turkey but in the other two games we know there is a lot more to come from us.
“That will be the case going forward. Over the years you say a team is a good team who picks up results when you are not playing so well.
“If there is room for improvement then there is a lot more to come for us.”
Denmark boss Kasper Hjulmand paid tribute to his players’ team spirit after they moved into the round of 16.
The Danes went 2-0 up through Mikkel Damsgaard’s stunning 38th-minute strike and a finish just before the hour mark from Yussuf Poulsen who 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 a thumping win for the hosts in front of a jubilant Parken Stadium crowd.
Oh my goodness. What a sequence. What a goal for Denmark. (Via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/bB8XAoMBk8
— Frank Isola (@TheFrankIsola) June 21, 2021
Hjulmand said: “What a night. We hoped it would be a magic night at Parken.
Regarding the last-16 tie, he added: “Wales are a very tough opponent. They came very far last time, they have real great players, so I think it is going to be a very equal game.
“I want to start by saying thank you to all the people who have been supporting us, and have shown so much love.
“I don’t think it would have been possible without all the support. I could feel that it really affected the players, so thank you so much for all the support. It means the world to us.
“The motivation, the team spirit, the friendship among the players was amazing. We played three games on a very high level and if someone deserves this it’s our players.
“I can’t imagine how they managed to come back from what they went through, so a big credit to the boys, and thanks a lot for the support we’ve got from the whole of Denmark.
“I have to say the team and the team sprit we have and how everyone contributed was amazing.
“It’s hard to describe what this team has been through the past four weeks. We are thinking about Christian all the way.”
Asked how he himself had managed, Hjulmand said: “I manage because I have a great team around me, I have great staff, great people around me, great players.
“I think the only way I can tell it is that we are a unit. It’s not one person, it’s a unit. We are backing each other up and that is the best with Denmark, I think it is the best values we can show the world – that we stand united, we are helping each other.”