Denmark U21's 1-4 Sweden U21's: Swedes seal their place in Tuesday's final with emphatic victory
Picture source: UEFA

After an enthralling end-to-end clash at the Generali Arena, Sweden have booked their place in Tuesday's U21 European Championship final, to be played against Portugal. Goals from John Guidetti, Simon Tibbling, Robin Quaison and Oscar Hiljemark sealed their fate, although it was not as easy as the scoreline suggests.

Not all plane sailing for the victors

It was not all plane sailing for the Swedes, who started the match second best against a Denmark side who were eager to assert their dominance from the early exchanges. Uffe Bech, who made his first starting appearance in this year's competition, was extremely lively early on as he frustrated the Sweden backline with his pace and agility in narrow spaces.

Sweden's first real opportunity fell to Isaac Kiese Thelin after seven minutes on the clock. An inviting delivery was whipped into the box by Khalili, but the 22-year-old's resulting effort flashed wide of the post.

Denmark had the ball in the back of the net first, in the eleventh minute. However, it was ruled out by the referee as RB Leizpig forward Yussuf Poulsen slammed home from close range - moments after he was adjuged to have handled the ball to control it. 

It was a fast start from the Danes, and their manager Jess Thorup would have been content with the way in which his side had started proceedings. However, just a few minutes later, the game was flipped completely on its head.

The beginning of the end for the Danes

A penalty was awarded in Sweden's favour, shortly after the twenty minute mark. Alexander Scholz brought Thelin down as he shaped to go for a header inside the box, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Despite protests from the players, John Guidetti; formerly of Manchester City, sent goalkeeper Busk the wrong way from the spot to break the deadlock.

Then, just three minutes later, it went from bad to worse. Denmark felt hard done by the decision and defensively, never recovered. Simon Tibbling doubled Sweden's lead in the 26th minute with a cooly struck finish, after Guidetti split the backline in two with a precisely-weighted pass from the edge of the area. Despite the scoreline staying two-nil up into the interval, the Danes should have at least clawed one back through Poulsen. His header, just minutes after Tibbling made it two, flashed narrowly wide of the post despite looking goal-bound.

Still time to come back, despite a two-goal cushion

As the second-half started, Denmark were already being written off. 45 minutes remaining for them to salvage something, and at least get back into the match - having dominated for the first twenty minutes, they found themselves behind with a two-goal cushion to try and destroy. After a few alterations from either side, it could have easily been three-nil after the hour mark. Tibbling, who impressed throughout the game, was unlucky not to score a 20-yard strike as Busk got a fingertip to push it narrowly wide away from goal. Replays showed it was in-fact a corner-kick, but instead, the officials thought otherwise.

Bech, who was lively in the early minutes, pulled a goal back. It was deserved, for all of their first-half efforts, and gave the Danes an outlet to hang on to as they eagerly awaited the possibility of scoring an equaliser. His 63rd minute strike, which flashed beyond Carlgren, ensured that the momentum was firmly in his side's favour. Would they be able to take advantage of that?

Denmark smell blood...

Denmark made their second substitution of the game just a minute or so after the goal to halve the deficit. Falk was replaced by Pione Sisto, and Sweden knew they needed to hit their opponents on the counter attack and kill the game off quickly before they conceded again.

Sisto was immediately involved in the action, a few minutes after being introduced into the fray. His cross from the left enticed the run of defender Vestergaard, but he was unable to keep the ball down on his first touch and Calgren was quick off his line to intercept the danger and quell the threat effectively.

... but are unable to take their chances and are punished

Despite an intense spell of pressure towards Calgren's goal, Denmark were not clinical enough in search of the all-important equaliser. With time running out, Bech came close, but in the 83rd minute, the hammer blow was struck. Robin Quaison, who came on ten minutes earlier in place of goalscorer Tibbling, smashed a powerful drive out of Busk's reach after a fatal mistake to clear the danger on the edge of their own box by Nicolaj Thomsen was pounced on to good effect.

The celebrations from the Swedish supporters said it all, they knew their place in next week's final was virtually guaranteed and despite a wave of Dane attacks upon their goal, the team stayed strong and hit them on the counter attack efficiently. The icing on the cake, and the salt into the wounds for Denmark - was another goal conceded, with literally the last kick of the game. A counter threat was not dealt with well, and captain Oscar Hiljemark got his name onto the scoresheet after slotting home from Sam Larsson's pass with seeming comfort.

Tuesday's final will certainly be an interesting one, considering Sweden will be going head-to-head with Portugal; who they narrowly drew with in their previous group stage fixture. A last-gasp equaliser sent them through, and Italy out of the competition - they'll be hoping for the kind of performance shown tonight, although it is easier said than done against a side that took the Germans apart by five-goals to nil earlier. Yes, five.