Wales 1-2 Denmark: Late Bale goal not enough as Danes finish top of UEFA Nations League
Denmark finished top of the Group Four in the UEFA Nations League Group B as they beat Wales at the Cardiff City Stadium.
A late goal from Gareth Bale wasn’t enough, as goals from Martin Braithwaite and Nicolai Jorgensen proved costly for Wales.
Ryan Giggs side had a number of chances in both halves, but their goal came too late as they were unable to create a grandstand finish.
Wales will now have to go through the European Championship Qualifiers to qualify, rather than using the UEFA Nations League as a route.
Both sides showed their attacking intentions early on in the game. Firstly Christian Eriksen fired a shot just over the bar from just outside the box, providing an early warning for Hennessey.
Wales had two good chances in the space of a minute. Firstly Gareth Bale teed up a powerful shot from 25-yards forcing Schmeichel into a save.
James Chester spurned a golden opportunity as he headed over the bar from a well-delivered cross from David Brooks.
Wales were having the better of the chances, as they contained Denmark but had to be cautious of overplaying with Christian Eriksen waiting to pounce.
Talisman Gareth Bale headed from just inches out after a slick Wales move, allowed Connor Roberts to cross to the Real Madrid man.
Paul Dummett was forced to come off due to an injury and concede a free-kick as Chris Gunter made his 92nd cap for Wales. The home side dealt with the free-kick as Hennessey comfortably collected.
Minutes before half-time, Denmark took the lead through a simple counter-attacking move. Martin Braithwaite flicked the ball to Nicolai Jorgensen, exploiting the gap left by James Chester and he stroked it past Wayne Hennessey.
Wales failed to respond in the remainder of the first half, with Connor Roberts wayward effort not testing Schmeichel.
Ryan Giggs was forced into a further change due to an injury. James Chester came off and was replaced by Ethan Ampadu.
Bournemouth attacker David Brooks missed an opportunity to level for Wales. Bale found him with a low cross but he couldn’t direct his effort goalwards.
Fancy footwork from Brooks almost saw Wales have a route back into the game. His superb solo run resulted in a curling effort from the 21-year-old going just wide of the target.
Wales were having to be wary of the counter-attacking threat of Denmark as they looked to exploit gaps left by the Welsh defence as they searched for an equaliser.
A third change was implemented with 20 minutes to go as Ryan Giggs moved Gareth Bale to his central role, as Harry Wilson replaced him on the wing.
Despite Wales’ intent, they almost fell further behind. Christian Eriksen played the ball through to Martin Braithwaite but the Middlesbrough attacker put too much power on his shot.
In the remaining ten minutes, Gareth Bale went the closest to equalising. His free-kick after Delaney’s foul on Roberts was tipped onto the post by Schmeichel.
As Denmark tried to preserve their lead, they began to show a physical aspect to the game. Kasper Dolberg put in a rash tackle on Ethan Ampadu, receiving a yellow card. Ampadu got his own back on the Danish forward as he laid him out.
Despite the quarrels by two sets of players, Denmark doubled their lead. A simple throw-in found Martin Braithwaite and his half-volley beat Hennessey to provide them with a two-goal advantage.
But as Wales looked down and out, Wales clawed one back immediately. A long ball over the top found Gareth Bale and the ever-reliable forward dragged it past Schmeichel and rolled it in.
Wales were unable to add any further threat in five minutes of additional time, as Denmark ran out winners.
(Featured Image: Lewis Mitchell)