England 0, Denmark 1 (Nations League Group E)
Harry Maguire was sent off as Christian Eriksen celebrated his 100th cap for Denmark with a penalty to beat 10-man England at Wembley.Embed from Getty Images
England spent almost an hour playing with ten men after Harry Maguire had been sent off to cap a wretched 31 minute cameo – and Eriksen scored the eventual winner from the penalty spot four minutes later to inflict a first home defeat since September 2018 against Spain.
Although both sides created chances, England couldn’t find an equaliser, with Kasper Schmeichel saving from Mason Mount, as Denmark protected their lead with the 7th game between the two countries at Wembley ending with a 1-0 scoreline once again with the Danes winning twice.
News later emerged that Reece James had been shown a red card for the use of foul and abusive language to the referee after the final whistle to compound England’s misery and both he and Maguire will be unavailable for the pivotal away match in the Nations League against Belgium next month after England’s Nations League momentum was brought to a crashing halt.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and James had been handed full debuts for England as Gareth Southgate stuck with the 3-4-3 formation that had served them well in Russia and against Belgium on Sunday.
England remained without a recognised left footer in an unbalanced side with even less experience in the wide roles.
Eric Dier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Kieran Trippier, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin stepped down from the starting line-up while Conor Coady, Kalvin Phillips, James, Maitland-Niles, and Harry Kane started.
Harry Maguire sent off after 31 minutes to hamstring England against Denmark at Wembley
But a game that started promisingly will now be remembered for a terrible performance for Manchester United captain Harry Maguire who was sent off after barely half an hour.
Maguire, woefully out of form, was punished off for two desperate challenges on Yussuf Poulsen and Kasper Dolberg – with Dolberg being replaced by Pione Sisto due to injury.
He became the third England player to be sent off at Wembley after Paul Scholes against Sweden in June 1999 and Steven Gerrard against Ukraine in September 2012 – the 17th red card for England in all.
This left England struggling to contain the Danes in an otherwise sterile first half until Kyle Walker was harshly punished for a ‘foul’ on Thomas Delaney which earned the Danes a soft penalty.
Delaney went down easily as England’s luck, which served them so well against Belgium on Sunday, deserted them and Eriksen notched up in 34th international goal.
Tyrone Mings was brought on for Maitland-Niles as England tried to re-adjust but with Kane isolated and possibly unfit with little service it was no surprise that Denmark took control of the game against the depleted home side.
James had made the most of his England debut, forcing Kasper Schmeichel save a shot after the break, while the Leicester keeper also acrobatically saved from Mason Mount after he reacted first to Declan Rice’s flick on from an England corner.
Daniel Wass headed over after he stole in between Walker and Mings to meet Sisto’s cross from the left as Denmark missed out on a second goal.
Jadon Sancho was belatedly introduced into the action alongside Dominic Calvert-Lewin with 18 minutes to go for Mount and Marcus Rashford.
Eriksen slid through Sisto who only had Pickford to beat but his finishing was poor and deflected away by Coady.
Kane was brought down 20 yards from goal when he drew a foul from Delaney and James lifted the ball over the wall but saw it fingertipped over the crossbar by Schmeichel.
The Danes shut up shop with a series of late substitutions and England couldn’t find their way past the Scandinavian defence.
The best chance of equalising came when Coady’s injury time goalbound header was headed away by Simon Kjaer as England launched it long.
James’ red card after the game was a disappointing end to a promising full debut for the Chelsea youngster as England lost two players to red cards in the same game for the first time.
Defeat leaves England third in Nations League group E, behind Denmark who have a superior goal difference, after Belgium retook top spot with victory over Iceland.
GOAL – England 0, Denmark 1 (Nations League Group E)
England 0, Denmark 1: 35. Christian Eriksen slotted a soft penalty for Denmark to put them into the lead at Wembley after a soft penalty award against Kyle Walker for a soft challenge on Thomas Delaney.
MATCH STATS – England 0, Denmark 1 (Nations League Group E)
England: Pickford, Walker, Coady, Maguire, James, Rice (Jordan Henderson 76), Phillips, Maitland-Niles (Mings 36), Mount (Sancho 73), Rashford (Calvert-Lewin 73), Kane
England subs not used: Pope, Henderson, Saka, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Ward-Prowse, Grealish, Ings
Booked: Maguire 6 (foul on Poulsen), Maguire 31 (foul on Kasper Dolberg); Jordan Henderson (dissent 85); Phillips (unsporting behaviour 86)
Sent off: Maguire 31 (second yellow card); James (foul and abusive language to the referee, after the final whistle)
Denmark: Schmeichel, Wass, Kjaer, Christensen (Zanka 46), Skov (Maehle Pedersen 46), Hojbjerg (Jensen 88), Delaney, Poulsen, Eriksen, Braithwaite (Vestergaard 74), Dolberg (Sisto 37)
Denmark subs not used: Lossl, Hansen, Billing, Dalsgaard, Gytkjaer, Wind
Booked: Christensen 39 (foul on Harry Kane), Hojbjerg 45 (foul on Harry Kane)
Goal: Eriksen 35 pen
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano