Denmark progress after dour goalless draw, Serbia out

Denmark vs Serbia, Euro 2024 (Image: Denmark FA, Serbia FA)

In a tournament that has seen some sparkling, attacking football from the likes of Germany, Spain and Portugal, Group C was a bit of an eyesore. The dour 0-0 draw between Denmark and Serbia that sent the Danes through to a second-round clash with Germany was in keeping with previous offerings in a group that saw five draws in six games. Serbia, with Novak Djokovic watching from the stands, huffed and puffed and are now on their way home.

An incident in the 83rd minute encapsulated their tournament. After Denmark failed to clear their lines, Dusan Tadic, the veteran who made an impression after coming on as substitute, aced a cross back into the six-yard box. There was the tiniest tug from Joakim Maehle on Aleksandar Mitrovic, but the theatrical flop to the floor was comical. The only surprise was the referee keeping a straight face while giving him a yellow card for simulation in Euro 2024.

Novak Djokovic in Denmark vs Serbia (Image: Euro 2024)

Ham acting aside, Mitrovic and Serbia created precious little, with Denmark having by far the best of the early exchanges. In the 16th minute, Alexander Bah sneaked in at the far post to meet a Maehle cross. But under pressure from the defender, he couldn’t direct his header on target.

Five minutes later, Christian Eriksen, at the heart of most Danish creativity, forced Predrag Rajkovic in the Serbian goal to tip the ball wide with a snapshot from distance. Soon after, from a corner, Jonas Wind bundled ball and keeper into the net. Fortunately for Serbia, the eagle-eyed linesman had spotted that Eriksen’s outswinging corner had gone out of play.

As the game settled into an attritional affair low on quality, Rasmus Hojlund struck a left-footer straight at Rajkovic, and there was little further penalty-box incident until early in the second half, when Luka Jovic, another Serbian sub, was flagged offside as he bundled the ball into the net off a defender.


Jannik Verstergaard, the Leicester City centre-back, had Denmark’s best chance to win it in the second half, but his header from an Eriksen corner in the 64th minute was straight at the keeper.

Mitrovic sulked his way through the game, largely starved of service, and fluffed his lines when he had a real opportunity. Dusan Vlahovic, part of a raft of changes made by Dragan Stojkovic in the second half, nicked the ball on the left side of the box, and laid it back, only to see Mitrovic side-foot tamely wide.

Knowing that they needed to win to progress, Serbia roused themselves in the final quarter, with Tadic creating pockets of space for probing passes. One such found Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in space at the top of the box. His shot lacked both power and direction – pretty much a metaphor for the entire group.