Denmark should have been dead and buried.
Three goals down to Switzerland with not much time left, Breel Embolo’s third in the 76th minute wrapped the match up as far as many were concerned.
Denmark hadn’t really looked likely to make the comeback before that point, so afterwards it was out of the question.
But then a few tackles, and a goal from Huddersfield Town’s Mathias Jørgensen in the 84th minute changed everything. Denmark became possessed, and Southampton’s Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was right in the thick of it, having come on with twenty minutes remaining.
The Southampton midfielder told Denmark’s BT: “There was an ‘over my (dead?) body’ mentality that made us score those goals. The best example is the goal that Dalsgaard scores. He goes through two men and a goalkeeper. Very few people score like that.”
Denmark have a very talented squad and when they came back from a disastrous start to their World Cup qualifying campaign, to get a place in Russia against all the odds, they showed they also have character.
Højbjerg insists they need to keep pushing: “We know we’re hard to beat. But that’s not enough. We need to keep improving and looking at where things can get better. The teams ahead of us also get better. So if we do not follow suit, we fall behind. It’s about continuing to evolve, and it’s about fulfilling our potential.”
This fight is what the Southampton player feels is the country’s football DNA: “Did we play well? Not especially. Did we deserve it? Maybe not. But again, it’s the DNA that makes us come back. And then it felt like a victory. I also say that very honestly. The key point is that Ireland now has six points, so if we had lost, we would already have been six points behind.”
Back at home, Southampton are still very much in danger of being relegated from the Premier League, they could do with Højbjerg spreading some of that fighting DNA around.