By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (September 26th 2023)
Swedish former defender Andrée Jeglertz took over the Danish women’s team from long-serving coach Lars Søndergaard after the recently concluded World Cup. Jeglertz saw his charges thrash hosts Wales 5-1 at Cardiff City Stadium tonight thanks to a Pernille Harder hat-trick, and goals by Frederikke Thøgersen and a late header by substitute Sanne Troelsgaard.
Five minutes after the break a stunning strike by Jess Fishlock, threatened to make a match of it but that was as good as got for Gemma Grainger’s side who paid for a poor first half where Danish skipper Harder in particular should have had a hat-trick before referee, Stephanie Frappart blew her whistle to give Wales a much-needed chance to reorganise. Nevertheless, Grainger saw several positives – she believed that at 2-1 down Wales were more likely to score.
Trailing 2-0 at half-time to a Harder brace that should have been a hat-trick, Wales improved rapidly with an excellent goal by Fishlock from just inside the D on the edge of the area, but Wales’ hopes of a revival were soon dashed as Thøgersen restored Denmark’s two goal cushion with a tap in within ten minutes. Wales tried to find a way back, but clear chances were at a premium and unlike Wales, Denmark was clinical in front of goal.
As the 90-minute mark beckoned Troelsgaard reacted quickest to convert a rebound and in added time Harder did the same to complete the rout.
A Hard Lesson
While Wales were possibly unlucky to get nothing from their Nations League bow against Iceland – a 1-0 defeat away – they paid the price for slack defending in the first half tonight. In the first five minutes, Rhiannon Roberts conceded a penalty when her careless attempt to clear caught Amaliee Vangsgaard’s foot. Harder scored easily to her right, sending Olivia Clark the wrong way from the spot after 6 minutes to give Denmark the lead.
Within five minutes Harder put Denmark two up after Josefine Hasbo managed to feed Thøgersen on the right of the area. She squared it for Harder to score easily. Harder had found far too much space. Wales cannot to give a player of her ability that much space – unmarked with just the keeper to beat, and expect not to be punished. A rout seemed on the cards, but that proved to be the extent of the damage in a one-sided first half that saw Fishlock deservedly yellow carded after clipping Sofia Svava. The freekick was wasted by Hasbo – it went harmlessly through for Clark to collect.
It ought to have been game over by half time, but the usually lethal Harder failed to complete a first half hat-trick with a bad miss by her standards. A lovely flick over her defender by Vangsguard initiated a move that deserved a goal, but Harder wasted the opportunity after a cross from the right was partially cleared by Roberts – Harder ought to have done far better but missed the far post from the left of the area.
Grainger reorganised her side during the break, replacing Rachel Rowe with Kayleigh Green. Five minutes into the second half, Fishlock halved the deficit to Lene Christensen’s left with a short pass assist by Carrie Jones and Wales threatened to make a match of it, but Denmark weathered the storm until Svava crossed from the left to gift a tap in to Thøgersen to restore Denmark’s two-goal cushion.
With less than ten minutes of normal time remaining Svava was replaced by Nicolene Sørensen it proved to be an inspired substitution, but before that Wales’ substitute Ffion Morgan’s cross from the right eluded a stretching Kayleigh Green at far post. Shortly afterwards Sørensen found space on left of area. Her shot was parried by Clark, but the rebound was headed in by substitute Sanne Troelsgaard.
In added time at the end of the match, substitute Signe Brunn left Clark stranded with a shot from near the edge of the area – it hit the crossbar and Harder slotted the rebound in for her hattrick and a 5-1 walloping, even though Grainger thought that the score was not a true reflection of the game, which leaves Wales with a stiff task to qualify.