Euro 2024, Football

Euro 2024 – Slovenia vs Denmark: Eriksen marks his Euros comeback with a goal as Denmark fall short

Christian Eriksen’s early goal was cancelled out by Erik Janza’s deflected late shot, and Slovenia and Denmark drew 1-1 in their Group C opener in Stuttgart.

Jonas Wind’s deft flick found Eriksen in space in the area, and the Man Utd playmaker made no mistake with a precise low finish into the corner past Jan Oblak, giving the Danes a 17th-minute lead after catching their opponents asleep at a throw.

On his 131st appearance for Denmark, the 32-year-old Eriksen stole the show in Stuttgart during the first half, precisely 1,100 days after going into cardiac arrest during his nation’s previous Euros opening match.

In the second half, both teams had opportunities to increase the score, but Oblak made a fantastic sprawling save to deny Rasmus Hojlund from close range, and seconds later, Adam Gnezda Cerin narrowly missed a header that would have scored a goal.

However, 13 minutes from time, Slovenia deservedly levelled the score when Janza tried his luck from the edge of the area, taking a big deflection off Morten Hjulmand to wrong-foot Kasper Schmeichel. Before that, the previously quiet Benjamin Sesko had rattled the woodwork with a thumping 25-yard drive.

The next Group C matchup is Denmark vs England on Thursday at 5 p.m. in Frankfurt; earlier that day, Slovenia plays Serbia in Munich.

For Christian Eriksen, Denmark’s opening game at this year’s European Championship was a much happier occasion than in 2021: “I do think this time in the Euros, my story is very different compared to last time,” he said.

“I did have in mind that I hadn’t scored at the Euros, so obviously that was on my mind, but nothing else than football was on my mind. Really just happy to help the team with the first goal.

“Obviously, in the end, there would have been a different story if we had the three points. We would also be a lot happier and a lot more confident. But I think it’s a wake up call for us to go into the next game.”

Slovenia are still waiting for their first win at a Euros finals. The country’s only other appearance was in 2000, when they drew two of their three games and didn’t make it out of the group stage.

Manager Matja Kek said: “I think the result is realistic. Maybe we’ve shown a bit too much respect in the first half, and then we managed to break free in the second half, and our play looked a lot better.

“This is definitely a match that showed me how much room for improvement we still have. We had a great scene for our first game, and this incredible energy from the stands was a plus to deal with the situation.”

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