Denmark were here, there and everywhere when they beat last place Moldova 5-0, with in-form Pernille Harder and Nadia Nadim getting the goals.
Moldova came into the game having already been eliminated and sitting in last place in the Group. They’d only scored one goal so far in the tournament and let in 24.
Denmark, on the other hand, have had a good campaign so far, having won all but two games; a 1-0 against Sweden and 0-0 in Poland. This is also the only goal Denmark have conceded, scoring 15 in the process.
Everything pointed towards a dominant display from Denmark before the game, and truth be told this is also what we got. Moldova kicked the game off, and that was one of the few times they had the ball.
First half Danish dominance
Just two minutes into the game experienced winger-cum-forward Johanna Rasmussen had a run down the left, which gave her some space, but her shot was not up to the standard expected from someone like her. She got hold of the rebound however, and found Pernille Harder, whose shot was deflected out for a corner. On the following set-piece, the ball scrambled around in the box but Nadia Nadim fought hard and ended up tapping home from close range; 1-0 to the Danes after just two minutes.
A few minutes later Harder found Nadim with a good pass, but the striker couldn’t find a way past Zatuşevscaia in the Moldovan goal. What followed was 10 minutes of complete Danish dominance, with chance after chance, and in the 18th minute a great run by Nadim saw her pick out Harder to powerfully finish.
Denmark saw most of the ball in the first half, but had a hard time converting it into chances, mainly due to a lack of precision in their crosses and their many corners, but in the 33rd minute a towering header from Harder saw the back of the net. Harder is the top scorer in the Swedish Damallsvenskan with 17 goals in 15 games for her Swedish club Linköping, and today she showed just how lethal she can be. The final ten minutes of the half slowed down, and neither side really produced much.
More of the same in the second half
Moldova stepped it up in the second half. They didn’t produce more going forward, but they were more organised defensively and it was visibly harder for the Danes to break them down. However, Denmark showed patience, and in the 48th minute Rasmussen hit the frame with a shot from distance – her second shot on the bar in this game.
A minute later Harder missed a huge chance as well. The game slowed down a bit, in large part due to Denmark’s inability to find that final pass, but also because Moldova were much better organised. It wasn’t until the 68th minute that Nadim found the net, and got her brace to make it four.
After this it was evident that Denmark were looking to finish on a high note, and with 15 minutes to go, Harder received the ball and drove it forward before finishing it off with a shot from the edge of the area, which also secured her hat trick. This was her seventh goal of the campaign. In the last 10 minutes of the game, Denmark produced a number of big chances, but the Slovakian 'keeper produced some world class saves to deny Nadim twice and Julie Tulstrup once. It all ended 5-0 to Denmark.
The stats show just how dominant Denmark were. They had 33 shots to Slovakia’s 0, with 13 of them being on target.
Next up for Moldova is a game against Poland, but perhaps the more interesting game is between Denmark and Sweden. Denmark will host their Scandinavian neighbours, whose result against Slovakia ensured them first place in the group. If Denmark pull off a win against Sweden they’ll book their place at the European Championship. However, a draw and even a loss might be enough if other results go their way.