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UEFA U17 Euro Finals: Denmark Reaches Semi-Finals with Penalty Shootout Win Over Czech Republic

[Credit: UEFA]

Denmark progressed to the semi-finals of the UEFA U17 European Championships for the first time since 2011 after overcoming the Czech Republic 5-3 on penalties, following a 1-1 draw in normal time.

This victory marked the first time Denmark had beaten the Czech Republic at this level.

Before this quarter-final tie, it was the first time both teams were facing off in the European U17 Championships. They had previously met five times, all in qualifiers, with the Czech Republic winning every game.

The opening ten minutes of the match were a cagey affair, with neither team creating clear-cut chances.

In the 11th minute, Ondrej Penxa missed a huge chance to put the Czech Republic ahead. Danish centre-back Noah Markmann failed to clear his lines, and Penxa pounced on the mistake but failed to convert his chance.

In the 22nd minute, Arsenal U18 striker and U18 Premier League top scorer Chido Obi-Martin had a massive chance to put Denmark ahead. A corner was taken short to Lasse Abildgaard, who delivered a cross to Obi-Martin. He rose highest to head the ball onto the post.

Besides those two big chances, neither team had a shot on target in the first half, with both teams being cautious given the magnitude of this knockout game.

The first half ended with both teams going into halftime without a shot on target.

In the second half, in the 57th minute, Chido Obi-Martin was denied by Marek Obdrzalek following a swift counterattack from the Danes.

The Czech Republic broke the deadlock in the 71st minute through Ondrej Penxa. The 17-year-old Sparta Prague winger ran onto Sosna’s pass, cut onto his right foot, and unleashed a brilliant curling shot into the top right corner to give his side the lead. That sumptuous strike was Penxa’s fourth goal, making him the current joint-leading goal-scorer of the tournament alongside England’s Mikey Moore.

Obi-Martin equalized for Denmark with eight minutes to go. The 16-year-old drove with the ball, escaped a couple of challenges from the Czech players, and fired a shot from outside the box. Obdrzalek misjudged the shot, and it went into the back of the net.

Neither team could find a winner in normal time, so the match had to be decided by a penalty shootout to determine who would advance to the tournament’s semi-finals.

Both teams converted their first two penalties, and then Chido Obi-Martin scored Denmark’s third penalty. Danish keeper Breum-Harild saved Lukas Moudry’s penalty, giving the advantage to the Danes. Danish defender Frej Elkjær Andersen scored the fourth penalty to put pressure on the Czechs. Although Ondrej Penxa scored his penalty to keep the Czech Republic’s slim hopes alive, those hopes were dashed as Oliver Højer scored the decisive penalty to send Denmark through to the semi-finals of the 2024 UEFA U17 European Championships.

Denmark will face the winner of either England or Italy in Sunday’s semi-finals.

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